When Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle say their “I do’s” on 19 May, 2018, all eyes will be on St George’s Chapel. Set in the grounds of Windsor Castle, their wedding venue offers some of England’s most awe-inspiring Gothic architecture. The opulent space combines vaulted stone ceilings, stunning stained glass, black-and-white chequered floors and heraldic flags, softly lit by lamps. London Perfect shares the inside track on notable weddings at Windsor, plus tips for touring this right royal travel destination.
Described as “London’s country estate”, Windsor Castle enjoys leafy, riverside surrounds in Berkshire, an hour away from the capital’s hubbub. The chapel is a far cry from cavernous St Paul’s Cathedral, where Prince Charles and Lady Diana married in 1981. It also promises to be a more intimate affair than Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton at London’s Westminster Abbey. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip married at towering Westminster too. While the Abbey holds around 2,000 guests, only 800 can squeeze into St George’s Chapel. And although there’s no balcony for a statement kiss, the ornate chapel has a romantic royal history going back generations.
Our royal residences
Fancy being treated like royalty? Then book one of London Perfect’s elegant vacation rentals, including lovely Kensington mews the Middleton (sleeps up to eight). Our impeccable three-level home Victoria hosts up to seven in upscale Kensington, a neighborhood originally built for Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting. The Queensgate Studio Loft (sleeps three) in chic South Kensington suits couples and also has a royal ring to it.
Notable royal nuptials
Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson’s younger daughter Princess Eugenie recently announced plans to marry her fiancé Jack Brooksbank. The 2018 wedding will be at St George’s Chapel, but after Harry of course, on 12 October. Both Harry and his cousin Eugenie were baptized here, creating a special connection.
The last royal couple to tie the knot at St George’s was Prince Harry’s father Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles. Back in 2005, the pair received a blessing at St George’s Chapel after a civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall. In 1999, Charles’s younger brother Prince Edward married Sophie Rhys-Jones at the chapel. And Peter Phillips – son of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips – wed his sweetheart Autumn Kelly at Windsor in 2008.
For St George’s Chapel’s first royal wedding you’ll need to rewind to 1863 when King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra were married. With a history reaching back 500 years, the chapel also holds the tombs of 10 monarchs, including Henry VIII and Charles I. King George VI and the Queen Mother are buried here, making it an emotional place for their great-grandson Prince Harry. Princess Margaret was also laid to rest in the family chapel.
Touring Windsor Castle
No doubt the wedding after-party will be at Windsor Castle, not too shabby for a reception. The world’s oldest and largest occupied castle, Windsor is open to visitors year round. Founded in the 11th century by William the Conqueror, it has housed 39 monarchs and is the Queen’s weekend home.
Getting wed at the chapel is an exclusive affair – even Harry asked the Queen for permission to marry here. However, you can take a look inside its hallowed hall, completed in 1528, on day trips to Windsor Castle. A visit to St George’s Chapel is included in the admission price (closes 4pm, Monday to Saturday). Check beforehand in case special events mean it’s off limits. On Sundays, the chapel is closed to visitors but you’re welcome to join worshipers at a Christian service. Windsor Castle, Windsor, Berkshire
London Perfect tours
London Perfect’s excursions include a majestic tour of London, Hampton Court, and Windsor. You’ll be whisked from London’s royal sights to regal residences beyond the capital including Hampton Court Palace and Windsor Castle. Highlights at Windsor include the State Apartments, art collection, and elegantly landscaped gardens. The 10-hour tour departs from Victoria Coach Station at 8.45am, returning by 7pm. Book for a Tuesday or Friday from 1 April to 31 October 2018.
Windsor is about 25 miles west of central London via the M4 motorway if you’d rather drive yourself (50 minutes). Alternatively, catch a Great Western Railway (GWR) train from London Paddington to Windsor & Eton Central Station (25 to 48 minutes). Trains also run from Waterloo Station on Southwestern Railway, taking around 54 minutes to Windsor & Eton Riverside Station. It’s then just a short walk to the castle.
At London Perfect, we only select the finest homes for our portfolio of vacation rentals, so contact us today and we can help you plan your royal tour.