The Golden Ticket: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle could hold ballot for public to join Windsor wedding
The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle could see thousands of members of the public invited into the grounds of Windsor Castle, as they promise to explore ways to make British people feel “part of the celebrations”. The Prince and Ms Markle, who will marry at St George’s Chapel in May, said they would like their big day to include members of the public, and are “working through ideas for how this might be achieved”. One option, which would see them follow in the footsteps of the Earl and Countess of Wessex, could see a ballot system to invite people inside the walls of Windsor Castle, or a carriage ride through the town. Both ideas were adopted by Prince Edward and the then Sophie Rhys-Jones for their wedding in 1999, when wedding organisers ran a ballot for 8,000 lucky people to come closer to the action. At the time, the idea of the ticketed system was praised as a “unique twist” on the grand wedding ceremonies enjoyed by Prince Edward’s three siblings, leading it to be called the “People’s Wedding”. Prince Harry and Ms Markle are to plan their own wedding, eschewing formal help to choose every element of their day. Speaking on Tuesday, the Prince’s communications secretary Jason Knauf said it had been important to the couple to signal that they “will be keeping the public in mind as they put plans for the wedding in place.” “Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are extremely grateful for the warm public response following yesterday’s an-nouncement of their enga-gement,” he said, speaking on Tuesday. “In a happy moment in their lives, it means a great deal to them that so many people throughout the UK, the Commonwealth, and around the world are celebrating with them. “Prince Harry and Ms. Markle are delighted that the beautiful grounds of Windsor Castle will be where they begin their lives together as a married couple. “The couple of course want the day to be a special, celebratory moment for their friends and family. “They also want the day to be shaped so as to allow members of the public to feel part of the celebrations too and are currently working through ideas for how this might be achieved. “This wedding, like all weddings, will be a moment of fun and joy that will reflect the characters of the bride and groom.” The Earl and Countess of Wessex had around 560 guests at their June wedding, with around 30,000 members of the public turning out onto the streets of Windsor to see them and millions more watched on television. The couple did not kiss on the steps of the castle, but took an open-topped carriage ride through the town to greet wellwishers. Other Royal couple who have married at St George’s include Peter Phillips, son of the Princess Royal, and Autumn Kelly, who caused a scandal in 2008 after they sold photographs of the wedding to Hello! magazine.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall also held their wedding blessing at the chapel in 2005. Prince Harry attended all three ceremonies, and has considerable experience of 21st century Royal weddings after acting as best man for his brother Prince William in 2011. Mr Knauf said: “Prince Harry and Ms. Markle are leading the planning process for all aspects of the wedding. “We look forward to sharing these details with you in the months ahead as decisions are made.”