In celebration of the upcoming wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on 19 May 2018, we take a look at some royally listed sites that tell the tale of royal wedding celebrations through the years:
1. The Jubilee obelisk, Windsor (Grade II listed)
The obelisk dates to 1810, and was erected by ‘the bachelors of Windsor’ at a celebration of the Grand National Jubilee of 25 October 1809. The celebration of King George III’s 50th year as monarch included the roasting of an ox given by a member of Prince Harry’s old regiment, the Blues and Royals. The site of the obelisk, Bachelors Acre, is a public park that is permanently open.
2. St James’s Palace, Central London (Grade I listed)
The most important location of royal activity down the ages (and the ceremonial heart of the monarchy), the palace was primarily built between 1531 and 1536 on the orders of Henry VIII. It includes the Chapel Royal, the venue for the wedding of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1840 and more recently the location of Meghan Markle’s baptism and confirmation into the Church of England. St James’s Palace is not normally open to the public.
3. Wartski Jewellers, Grafton Street, London (Grade II listed)
A strikingly-designed 1970s jewellers shop in a discreet central London street has played an important role in many royal weddings. Wartski Jewellers on Grafton Street, London provided the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding ring, Princess Diana’s, and also that of Ms Parker-Bowles when she married the Prince of Wales. Wartski’s are thus favoured in the press as the likely source of Meghan Markle’s wedding ring, following a longstanding royal family tradition for brides to have a ring made of Welsh gold, of which Wartski’s – originally founded in the Welsh town of Bangor in 1865, and since 1907 in Llandudno – are one of the only suppliers. The listed shop front is a high-quality and intact example of 1970s retail design.
4. St George’s Chapel and Hall at Windsor Castle (Grade I listed)
The centrepiece of Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding, St George’s Chapel and Hall is England’s largest castle. Covering some 13 acres, it was erected by William the Conqueror and extended by Henry II. The upcoming royal wedding and the main celebrations are taking place here. The castle is regularly open to the public.
5. Frogmore House, Windsor Park (Grade I listed)
A short drive from the wedding venue sits Frogmore House in Windsor Home Park. This was the venue for the official engagement photos of Prince Harry and Meghan and will host a private reception for members of the royal family and selected guests on the evening of the wedding. Originally built in 1680, the house was extensively remodelled in 1792 for Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III, who bought it for her as a private retreat. Frogmore House is periodically open to the public.
6. Kensington Palace, London Grade I listed
Once married, Prince Harry and Meghan will settle into life at Nottingham Cottage, part of the larger complex that comprises Kensington Palace in Central London. The palace is also the official residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children.
Originally built in 1661 for Sir Heneage Finch, the first Earl of Nottingham, the palace was bought by King William III in 1689 and renamed Kensington House (later Palace), with extensive new works and rebuilding by Sir Christopher Wren between 1689 and 1695. Parts of the palace are regularly open to the public.
7. Broadlands House, Romsey, Hampshire Grade I listed
The location of Harry and Meghan’s honeymoon is a closely guarded secret, but one traditional location would be the Hampshire stately home Broadlands House, near Romsey. This is where HM the Queen honeymooned with the Duke of Edinburgh after their marriage in 1947, and was also the honeymoon venue of the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1981. Originally dating to the time of Elizabeth I, the house was remodelled in the late 18th century, and has long been owned by close friends of the Royal Family. The house is regularly open to the public .
… and a couple of bonus sites
Visitors making the trip for the royal wedding might also like to explore two monuments that celebrate Anglo-American relations over the years. The Kennedy Memorial (Grade II listed) and the Magna Carta Monument (Grade II listed) are both in Runnymede, Surrey, not far from Windsor.
The former is a permanent tribute commemorating the life of President Kennedy on land given to the USA shortly after Kennedy’s assassination in 1963. The latter is the only specifically designed structure to commemorate the signing of the Magna Carta, which represents a seminal moment in the history of democracy for English, and later American, citizens. Learn more about the memorials here.