While the world may now be anxiously awaiting the birth of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s first child next spring, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are opening up about their fairytale royal wedding in a new exhibition at Windsor Castle celebrating the historic occasion. In addition to showcasing clothing and mementos from the day, the former Suits actress shares intimate details about the “surreal” moment she met with Queen Elizabeth II to select her tiara (hint: it was, as Harry describes, “every girl’s dream”) for the display.
Open daily through January 9, 2019, the exhibit includes Markle’s Givenchy wedding dress and veil, the pageboy and bridesmaid outfits worn by Prince George and Princess Charlotte, a replica of Harry’s military uniform and, of course, the diamond headpiece the bride borrowed from her grandmother-in-law for the big day.
Marrying her prince at St George’s Chapel in Windsor on Saturday, May 19, Markle selected a bandeau tiara that once belonged to Queen Mary to complement her Clare Waight Keller-designed dress and dramatic veil. Crafted in 1931, the diamond and platinum bling features a detachable brooch in the center dating back to 1893 and 11 sections of interlaced ovals.
It was the perfect anchor for the Duchess’ 16-foot-long silk tulle veil that featured an intricately embroidered trim of 53 flora and fauna representing the British Commonwealth. In the exhibit, Markle shares that went to visit the Queen before the wedding to pick out the piece.
“When it came to the tiara on the day, I was very fortunate to be able to chose this gorgeous art deco style bandeau tiara,” Meghan says in the recording. “Harry and I had gone to Buckingham Palace to meet with her Majesty the Queen to select one of the options that were there which was an incredibly surreal day as you can imagine.”
With her minimalist bateau-neck bridal gown in mind, the Duchess says that she knew she wanted something classic. “That was the one that I think as we tried them on stood out,” she explains. “I think it was just perfect because it was so clean and simple — and also to that point, an extension of what Clare and I had been trying to do with the dress which was have something that could be so incredibly timeless but still feel modern.”
Oh, and Harry was there to help with the big decision, though he cheekily admits it may have been better if he wasn’t. “Funnily enough, it was the one that suited the best, the one that looked the best on you without question,” he says. “I shouldn’t have really been there – but [it was] an incredible loan by my grandmother. Very sweet.”
For those lucky enough to make it to Windsor to see the “A Royal Wedding: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex” display (which is set up in the castle’s Grand Reception Room where Queen Elizabeth held a lunch for the couple after their nuptials), they will also be treated to hearing the newlyweds discuss their ensembles.
Meghan makes it clear that it was “very important” for her to “embrace her new home” by working with a female British designer, and she found the perfect partner in Givenchy’s Weight Keller. All told, her magnificent gown took 50 craftsman some 3,900 man-hours to create, and it, along with the rest of the Duchess’ stunning look, gained instant icon status.