Only one assistant at baker Claire Ptak’s London confectionery knew what she was cooking up as she prepped samples for some top-secret clients: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. After two Kensington Palace tastings, the couple selected a lemon elderflower flavor for their 600 guests to enjoy after they say “I do” May 19. In doing so, they broke an age-old tradition honored by Prince William, Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria and more. As royal expert Omid Scobie tells Us, “This is the first wedding without a multitiered fruitcake!”
Dessert won’t be the only atypical element of the big day. As Us Weekly previously reported, American-born Markle, 36, has named a maid of honor instead of a chief bridesmaid, is expected to make a speech and, of course, has invited pals from her life as an actress. But the star factor isn’t an issue for her future family, notes Scobie: “Meghan has proved that her friends are good people. No one has betrayed her.” And as Ingrid Seward, author of My Husband and I, about Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s relationship, notes, Hollywood guests will bring excitement: “It might be more amusing!”
While Markle’s family has proved a bit unpredictable (half sister Samantha Grant has criticized her in the press, and half brother Thomas Jr. was arrested in 2017), Scobie says “the palace has seen this before,” citing stories surrounding Kate Middleton’s family prior to her wedding to Prince William in 2011. As the first commoner “in such a high position,” says Scobie, “Kate already knocked down some of those walls.”
And while Kate “has been great at guiding Meghan,” Scobie says, Markle “came in with more of a self-identity.” The former Suits star is “not afraid to pick causes that are less glamorous,” such as menstrual health in India and ending youth violence, he notes.
Her sense of self also shines through when it comes to her fashion choices. Though she’s caused a stir with her penchant for skipping stockings and baring her arms, Scobie notes that these things are “not that much of a break from tradition.” Says the expert, “There are advisors that are aware of fashion choices she makes, but she’s allowed more freedom with the way she can dress since she’s marrying Harry and not William.”
She also freely shows her love for 33-year-old Harry. Though William and Kate rarely hold hands in public, Markle and Harry “wear their hearts on their sleeves,” says Scobie. While Seward calls their PDA “not very dignified,” Scobie nods to the couple’s more somber April 25 outing to an Anzac Day service as proof that “they know when to turn it off.” Besides, he says, “the world likes to see that they’re in love.”
For more on Markle’s style, philanthropy and more pick up the new issue of Us Weekly, on stands now.
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