Surprising Ways Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Wedding Made History

In the hierarchy of royal weddings, it’s hard to beat Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer’s over-the-top “wedding of the century” on July 29, 1981. However, the nuptials of Charles and Diana’s two kids were both noteworthy in their own respects. There were even a few details about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding that made history.

Duke and Duchess of Sussex
Duke and Duchess of Sussex | Aaron Chown/AFP/Getty Images

Times have changed a lot since 1981, even in the traditional realm of the British royal family. These societal changes paved the way for Prince Harry to make history when he wed the American born actress Meghan Markle — an event that never would have happened just a few decades ago.

Ahead, check out all the ways that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s 2018 wedding made history.

Meghan Markle is an American citizen

The first incredible thing about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding is that it happened at all. Because Markle is a bi-racial, American-born divorcee who was raised Catholic, she automatically didn’t check the boxes that would make her a “suitable bride” for a member of the British royal family.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle | Steve Parsons – WPA Pool/Getty Images

However, royal rules have relaxed over the years. Though Prince Harry’s relative Prince Edward VIII had to go so far as to abdicate the throne to marry Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee, Prince Harry didn’t have to do the same.

They went against protocol for the date and day

Usually, royal weddings occur on any month except for May and they happen on a weekday. Queen Elizabeth married on a Wednesday, Charles and Diana had their nuptials on a Wednesday, and Prince William and Kate Middleton chose to have their wedding on a Friday. Bonus: those days are celebrated as national holidays for the citizens.

But Prince Harry and Meghan Markle took a different approach when they scheduled their wedding during a month that Queen Elizabeth thinks is “unlucky” and when they chose a Saturday.

The pair wed on May 19, 2018. Because it was a weekend, their wedding day was not declared a British holiday.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Duke and Duchess of Sussex | Ben Stansall – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Their wedding cake was unique

Wedding cakes vary in so many ways, but when it comes to royal confections, some traditions are followed every time.

Most royal wedding cakes consist of multiple tiers of fruitcake. However, at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding, they opted for a lemon elderberry-flavored cake with buttercream frosting.

Sounds delicious, but it didn’t fit the typical royal wedding cake protocol.

Meghan Markle wanted to include intimate details

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wedding
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wedding | Owen Humphries – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Since Prince Harry is sixth in line for the throne, he wasn’t under the same pressure and scrutiny as his older brother and father to have an over-the-top ceremony. And since Meghan Markle wanted the whole day to feel special and intimate even though millions of people were watching, that means a few details were different.

First off, the ceremony took place at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle instead of the grander Westminster Abbey where the Duke of Sussex’s parents got married.

Also, there was no showy, over-the-top balcony kiss like there was at Prince Charles and Prince William’s weddings.

They invited the public to attend

But even though Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wanted the ceremony to be intimate, they still included members of the public so they could feel like they were part of the momentous occasion. In total, 2,640 British citizens were lucky enough to receive an invitation to the royal wedding.

Meghan Markle’s celebrity friends were there

Amal and George Clooney
Amal Clooney and George Clooney | Gareth Fuller/AFP/Getty Images

Since Meghan Markle began her career as an actress, she made quite a few A-list friends who she did end up inviting to the wedding. Meanwhile, there were fewer foreign dignitaries on the guest list. Instead, the audience included familiar faces such as George and Amal Clooney, Priyanka Chopra, Serena Williams, and Oprah Winfrey.

Prince Charles walked Meghan down the aisle

Prince Charles Meghan Markle
Prince Charles walks Meghan Markle | Jonathan Brady/AFP/Getty Images

It’s no secret that Meghan Markle had some drama with her father, Thomas Markle. In the end, he wasn’t able to attend the royal wedding and walk her down the aisle.

But Meghan Markle didn’t have to go it alone. Prince Charles stepped in and walked her down the aisle instead.

It was a beautiful royal wedding that fans will remember for years to come!