All the Hidden Symbolism During Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Royal Wedding

The royal wedding has come and gone, but we’re still breaking down all the symbolism behind every decision Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made regarding their nuptials. Learn the hidden meaning behind their royal wedding day choices — including what the empty seat next to Prince William really meant (page 7).

Meghan’s wedding gown

Harry and Meghan

She chose Givenchy for her big day. | Ben Stanstall-WPA Pool/Getty Images

Meghan’s boat neck silk gown by designer Clare Waight Keller does more than make a fashion statement. Keller is the first female artistic director of the French fashion house Givenchy, according to Kensington Palace. Meghan considers herself a feminist and aims to support women. So it’s not surprising she picked a female designer for her wedding gown.

Hint: This accessory held significant meaning.

And her veil

Her veil was very long. | Ben Stanstall-WPA Pool/Getty Images

Meghan’s veil is where the details in the dress really shine. Meghan wanted to represent the Commonwealth states and her home state of California by incorporating flowers for each on her veil. The hand-embroidered 16-foot train required seamstresses to wash their hands every half hour, according to Kensington Palace.

Hint: Prince Harry handpicked specific flowers.

The flowers

The story behind her flowers is so sweet. | Ben Stanstall-WPA Pool/Getty Images

Prince Harry handpicked flowers from the private garden at Kensington Palace to use in Meghan’s bouquet, according to Kensington Palace. They included forget-me-nots, which were Princess Diana’s favorite flower. Meghan’s bouquet also included myrtle, a royal family tradition among brides. The myrtle sprigs originated from “a plant grown from the myrtle used in the Queen’s wedding bouquet of 1947,” according to Kensington Palace.

Hint: This American song meant a lot.

Song choice

The venue was fit for a duchess. | Ben Stanstall-WPA Pool/Getty Images

During the ceremony the London-based Kingdom Choir sang Ben E. King’s 1961 hit, “Stand By Me,” according to Variety. The song is not only fitting for a wedding, but its hidden political meaning is poignant. “When ‘Stand By Me’ first rose to popularity during the civil rights movement, it was used as a rallying cry for solidarity amongst people of color,” according to Time.

Hint: One man’s energy stole the show.

A historic bishop

 Rev Bishop Michael Curry, primate of the Episcopal Church, gives an address during the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle

Rev. Bishop Michael Bruce Curry addressed the wedding guests. | Ben Stanstall-WPA Pool/Getty Images

In 2015, Bishop Michael Bruce Curry became the first black person to serve as the presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church, according to Vanity Fair. He and Meghan both have a connection to Chicago, though it doesn’t appear he knew her or the royals before the royal wedding. But his energy stole the show during the ceremony.

Hint: Meghan’s ring — not her engagement ring — turned heads.

Meghan’s ‘something blue’

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry reception

The ring had a special meaning. | Ben Stanstall-WPA Pool/Getty Images

After her wedding ceremony at St. George’s Chapel, Meghan changed into a Stella McCartney dress for her reception. Meghan paired the white gown with the traditional “something blue.” But in this case, it was a blue ring that belonged to Princess Diana.

Hint: About the empty seat next to Prince William …

Empty seat wasn’t for Princess Diana

Prince William, Prince Charles, Camilla, and Kate Middleton at royal wedding

It was for the queen. | Ben Stanstall-WPA Pool/Getty Images

While many thought the empty seat next to Prince William for the ceremony was a tribute to Princess Diana, it was, in fact, left open for the queen, according to Harper’s Bazaar. Per royal protocol, the seat in front of Queen Elizabeth II is always unoccupied.

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Read more: Meghan Markle: A Look Inside Her Glamorous New Life With Prince Harry