Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding has been one for the history books—in part because of how the couple specifically chose to do things their own way.
Here are all the ways their celebration broke away from royal tradition:
MEGHAN IS DIVORCED.
There was a time when a senior royal having a relationship with a divorcee was seen as disastrous. Seventeen years after Edward VIII abdicated in order to marry the twice-divorced Wallis Simpson, Princess Margaret was forced to give up her love affair with Group Captain Peter Townsend.
Over half a century later, Prince Charles was able to finally marry his divorced long-term partner Camilla Parker-Bowles because of a new ruling from the Church of England, but there was still public conflict surrounding the couple’s union.
But no more! Meghan has been welcomed into the Royal Family with open arms, and the British public approves of its new princess.
THERE WASN'T A KISS ON THE BUCKINGHAM PALACE BALCONY.
Ever since the weddings of Queen Victoria’s children, it has been customary for royal couples to take to the balcony at Buckingham Palace to acknowledge the crowds below.
Then in 1981, Charles and Diana were the first royal couple to share a kiss in front of the cheering crowds, later followed by Andrew and Sarah, and William and Kate. Because Harry and Meghan didn't get married in London, there was no balcony appearance–but that didn't stop them from sharing a kiss for the cameras in Windsor.
THE BRIDE AND GROOM SPENT THE NIGHT BEFORE THEIR WEDDING AT SEPARATE HOTELS.
Royal couples usually spend the night before their wedding at royal residences. Prince Charles and Prince Andrew both stayed at Buckingham Palace the night before their weddings, and their brides nearby at royal residence Clarence House. While Kate stayed with her family at The Goring Hotel, William was at Clarence House the night before his big day, along with his brother Harry.
It was all different this time around. While there are several residences on the Windsor estate that could have served as a last-night base for Harry and Meghan, they chose to stay at luxury hotels Coworth Park and Cliveden House respectively.
THE CAKE FLAVOR CAME OUT OF LEFT FIELD.
Royal weddings cakes are usually multi-tiered and highly traditional rich fruit cakes encased in marzipan with a thick crust of white icing. However. Harry and Meghan went with lemon and elderflower cake covered with buttercream and fresh flowers, to capture the ‘bright
BRIDESMAIDS AND PAGEBOYS WEREN'T JUST FROM THE ROYAL SIDE.
The royal protocol card is a pretty hefty one, and it has meant in the past that it trumps every aspect of a royal wedding. This usually means that most if not all of the bridesmaids and page boys are pulled from the royal pool.
Apart from Pippa Middleton, this was even the case as recently as William and Kate’s wedding in 2011, when all seven of the junior attendants were connected to William. However, with Harry and Meghan, it was an entirely even split, with three of the six bridesmaids and two of the
THERE WAS A BEST MAN.
Prince Harry followed in his brother's footsteps and broke royal protocol by returning the favor of having his brother as his best man. The position is typically filled by what's called a "supporter." The bride, however, chose not to appoint a maid of honor.
THE BRIDE WASN'T BE GIVEN AWAY BY HER FATHER.
Lest we forget... This is the one rule-bend that Harry and Meghan most definitely didn’t want, but the rollercoaster of events relating to Meghan’s side of the family in the lead up to her big day meant that there was a significant departure from the royal norm. Meghan’s father Thomas Markle was due to walk his daughter down the aisle, but after suffering a heart attack and undergoing subsequent surgery three days before the wedding, he wasn’t well enough to fly, and in a surprise twist it was Prince Charles who did the honors.
A VERY STAR-STUDDED GUEST LIST.
There is often a smattering of familiar faces at a royal wedding, but Harry and Megan’s big day was filled with a who’s who of celebrities from both sides of the Atlantic, including George and Amal Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, Idris Elba, Tom Hardy, Serena Williams, David and Victoria Beckham, James Corden, Carey Mulligan and Marcus Mumford, and the cast of Suits.
HARRY IS WEARING A WEDDING RING.
Neither Harry’s grandfather Prince Philip nor brother Prince William
A CEREMONY WITH A SIGNIFICANT MULTICULTURAL CONTENT.
The address was given by the presiding bishop of the American Episcopal Church, Bishop Michael Curry. He gave a rousing speech all about the power of love, opening with the words of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, “We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will be able to make of this old world a new world. Love is the only way.”
THE MUSIC WAS ALSO VERY DIFFERENT.
Later in the service, gospel singers from the Kingdom Choir raised the roof with their rendition of the Ben E. King classic "Stand By Me." This was just before
A SPOT OF HAND HOLDING.
Harry and Meghan had already broken the royal mold on their royal engagements by holding hands as they arrived, and their tender physical interaction was also seen during the service. The couple broke with traditional royal protocol by holding hands throughout.
THE VOWS WERE MODERN.
During the ceremony and exchanging of vows, the bride and bridegroom addressed each other simply as "Harry" and "Meghan," while in the past, those tying the knot had to call each other by their entire names. Meghan also left out the part of their vows where the bride promises to "love, cherish, and obey" her husband, just like Princess Diana and Kate Middleton did.
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.