Prince William and Prince Harry’s Royal weddings became two of the most celebrated events of the past century, all around the world. And for good reason! Fans of the family have not witnessed a Royal wedding since Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ wedding in 1981. This continued for three decades, until 2011, when Kate Middleton and Prince William tied the knot.
Almost a decade later, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle said “I do” in 2018. After Meghan and Harry’s ceremony, people started comparing the Royal weddings. Now, some think that Harry and Meghan’s wedding might have been the moment the two of them started to chart their own course. As Harry and Meghan leave for Canada, and William and Kate stay behind in England, let’s see who had the better wedding and why Meghan and Harry left the Royal Family…
The Two Engagement Rings
Let’s start with the rings! The sapphire engagement ring Prince William gave to his now-wife, Kate Middleton, has deep personal meaning for him (seen on the left, below). You see, it previously belonged to his mother, Princess Diana. In fact, it was her engagement ring! The ring features a 12-carat oval blue sapphire, cut into faces, surrounded by solitaire diamonds. Back in 1981, the ring cost $37,000, though it’s now valued at nearly $400,000!
Unfortuley, with Diana’s ring already gone to Kate, Prince Harry proposed to Meghan Markle with a custom ring that shared many features of his mother’s (seen on the right, above). It features a white gold band made of Welsh Gold, two diamonds from Princess Diana’s jewelry collection, and a center stone from Botswana, where the couple fell in love. According to jewelry and diamond experts, the engagement ring has an estimated worth of $350,000.
The Regal Waves
We can all agree: one of the most iconic parts of any Royal wedding is the Royal wave afterward. However, any don’t know how this tradition began! According to the Royal protocol, it is supposed to be a sign of gratitude. You see, it is a silent “thank you” to the people who’ve attended the ceremony outside the church.
Still, each Royal has their own version of the wave. Middleton closely followed tradition and waved standing on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. Meanwhile, Meghan didn’t get her Royal wave on the famous balcony. However, she greeted people around Windsor through a long carriage ride. What’s more, she did it with a big smile as bright as the white dress!
Prince Charles: From Uniform to Morning Suit
Usually, each Royal has a set style they adhere too. But Prince Charles likes to switch it up! When Charles attended the wedding of his oldest son, Prince William, he elected to wear his Royal uniform, complete with all its badges. However, Charles opted for a very different outfit on Harry’s big day. For Prince Harry’s wedding, Prince Charles opted for a grey morning suit with little more than a pocket square and pin.
Meanwhile, his current wife, Camila Parker, wore similar dresses on both occasions. Back in 2011, Parker wore a peach outfit. Then, in 2018, she went for a pastel pink gown with a perfectly matching hat.
Walking Down The Aisle
Every little girl dreams of wearing a beautiful, flowing wedding gown while holding a giant bouquet. For Kate Middleton, this dream came true when her father, Michael Middleton, walked her down to meet Prince William. It seemed like a scene straight out of a Disney princess movie!
Unfortunately, for Meghan Markle, things did not turn out quite as dreamlike. You see, Meghan’s father could not attend the ceremony due to poor health conditions. Luckily, a hero emerged and ended up saving the day: Prince Charles! Unlike Kate, who walked the entire aisle with her father, Markle walked a part of St George’s Chapel all by herself, meeting Prince Charles halfway.
Believe it or not, Prince Charles organized evening receptions after the wedding for both of his daughters-in-law. According to those close to the Royal Family, it’s his way of showing his sons how much he loves and cares about them. Of course, Middleton and Markle both looked absolutely breathtaking with their incredible outfits.
On the one hand, the Duchess of Cambridge opted for a traditional Alexander McQueen white satin dress. Many commented that it looked just like something Prince Diana would have worn. Meanwhile, Meghan Markle preferred a long dress designed by Stella McCartney. Reportedly, the Royals paid about $157,000 for Markle’s reception dress!
Royal Frist Kisses
The first kiss as a Royal couple is the moment that millions of people around the world wait for while watching royal weddings. However, just like everything else, there are some differences between the two couples’ first married kiss.
While the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge shared this memorable moment on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, Prince Harry and Markle went for something a little different. You see, they shared their first kiss the moment they stepped out of the St. George’s Chapel. Hey, some people just can’t wait! Needlessly to say, the entire world celebrated with them, and the crowd couldn’t stop cheering.
The Middletons at the Royal Weddings
The parents of Kate Middleton, Carol and Michael Middleton, looked incredible on the Duchess’ special day back in 2011. Michael wore a black and grey suit with a black hat, while Carol wore a stunning blue dress with a matching hat (below, left). However, nothing matched the shining smiles on the parents’ faces.
Of course, the Middletons also received an invitation for Prince Harry’s wedding. This time around, they looked just as dashing. The father wore another black blazer and striped grey trouser, while Mrs. Middleton wore a similar blue dress in combination with discrete jewelry. There’s no question that the Middletons have an incredible sense of style. While they might not be Royals, but they certainly look the part!
Like Mother, Like Daughter
As the saying goes: like mother, like daughter! And that’s certainly the case with Duchesses’ Kate and Meghan. As you can see in the pictures below, both Middleton’s and Markle’s moms looked just as incredible as their daughters during the Royal weddings.
Just like at her daughter’s wedding, Carol Middleton opted for a light blue gown designed by Catherine Walker for Harry’s wedding (above, left). Meanwhile, Doria Ragland, Meghan Markel’s mother, opted for a light green Oscar de la Renta dress. Best of all, they’re both smiling! After all, few things make people more delighted than seeing their children marry the love of their lives!
The Duchesses’ Tiaras
No Royal wedding would be complete without beautiful tiaras. And both Duchesses wore stunning crowns on their wedding day. For her something “borrowed,” Kate Middleton wore a Cartier tiara that Queen Elizabeth II received as a present for her 18th birthday. Fun fact, King George VI actually hand-delivered the gift to his daughter!
Meanwhile, Meghan Markle wore a bandeau tiara she also borrowed from the Queen. Meghan’s crown, a real piece of history, is an inheritance from the Queen’s mother, Queen Mary. While both tiaras are from the family collection, Meghan’s has the higher worth, at an estimated $650,000! Regardless of the cost, both tiaras look perfect on the brides.
The Beckhams at the Royal Weddings
Celebrities David and Victoria Beckham looked nothing less than stunning at both Prince William and Prince Harry’s weddings. However, they looked specifically incredible at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan. For the special occasion, the former footballer wore a grey morning suit. Meanwhile, his fashion designer wife turned heads in a beautiful navy dress. The former Spice Girl also wore a matching hat, as is custom, and fixed her hair into an elegant ponytail.
The true humanitarians the couple are, the Beckhams are now selling their Royal weddings outfits to support an incredible cause. Reportedly, the money raised will help those affected by the 2017 Manchester attack.
Delicious Wedding Cakes
It might seem extreme, but even the cakes at Royal weddings have particular traditions that go along with them. Believe it or not, the wedding cakes are prepared in secrecy on the very day of the Royal wedding. After all, nothing beats fresh!
Prince William and Middleton’s wedding cake was an eight-tier one made by Fiona Cairns. Like many Royal cakes, William and Middleton’s cake was a fruitcake, with a second chocolate cake for those that do not like fruitcake. Meanwhile, Claire Ptak baked Prince Harry and Markle’s cake. What’s more, Ptak managed to create a lemon and elderflower delicious treat that the couple served at the reception. Markle’s cake reportedly cost about $60,000!
While Meghan and Kate might seem like they have the same bouquet, they are actually quite different. For her special day, Middleton opted to carry a small all-white bouquet designed by Shane Connolly. For the flowers, Middleton and Connolly picked a combination of Middleton’s and the Royal family’s favorite stems. Each flower had a distinct meaning, including happiness and steady love, among many others.
Meanwhile, Meghan Markle’s more-understated bouquet, seen above, has an incredibly loving story behind it. According to Kensington Palace, Prince Harry himself handpicked some of the flowers that ended up in the Duchess’ bouquet. Who would have imagined, right? Florist Philippa Craddock designed the rest of the bouquet, which included flowers that are symbols of love and dedication.
The Maid of Honor and the Page Boys
One of the original jobs of a maid of honor was to hold the train while the bride walked down the aisle. When it came time for her special day, the Duchess of Cambridge selected her sister, Peppa Middleton, as her maid of honor. After all, there’s no one better than your sister to carry your long train down the aisle.
Meanwhile, Royal bride Meghan Markle decided not to have a maid of honor. In fact, she had a very different idea in mind. Markle chose to have her page boys in charge of carrying her long veil into the church. Oddly, the Duchess of Sussex has never really explained why she decided not to follow tradition. Still, her long train turned every head at the ceremony and received plenty of attention.
As you would expect of Royal princes, both Prince William and Prince Harry looked amazing on their wedding day. While they couldn’t compare with the dashing brides, they sure turned heads! On his special day, Prince William wore a red Irish Guards uniform that harked back to his days in the military. Meanwhile, his younger brother, Prince Harry, wore his Blues and Royals military uniform.
What’s more, Prince William and Prince Harry honored their mother in their own way on their special day by including some of her favorite readings during the ceremonies. Still, Princess Diana’s greatest legacy remains her two sons.
Middleton’s Wedding Gown
Fashionistas’ jaws dropped to the floor as Kate Middleton married Prince William wearing a stunning, bespoke wedding gown designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen. Even today, Middleton’s wedding dress remains one of the most talked-about royal bridal dresses in recent years.
When creating the gown, Middleton wanted to merge Royal tradition with her own personal sense of style. In the end, the dress featured a nine-foot-long train and handmade lace crafted by the Royal School of Needlework. The back of Middleton’s dress was held together by 58 organza-covered buttons and Rouleau loops. Believe it or not, the incredible gown cost over $450,000 to make!
Twice White for the Duchess
In 2011, after many years of dating, Prince William and Kate Middleton finally said “I do” to one another in a lavish ceremony at Westminster Abbey. While the bride wore her Alexander McQueen trousseau, her husband wore his typical, bright-red Royal uniform. It’s a moment that we’ll all remember for many years to come. However, no one expected her to wear white to Meghan and Harry’s wedding!
There might be an old saying that says don’t wear white to a wedding, but Kate Middleton opted for a white gown to celebrate Prince Harry and Markle’s big day. Still, many commented that the simple dress seemed appropriate enough to wear at a wedding.
Meghan’s Wedding Dress
While Kate Middleton followed tradition, with a dress from a British designer, Meghan Markle decided to do something different. First, she went with a designer headquartered in Paris, Clare Waight Keller. Next, Meghan stated she wanted a sleek and modern wedding gown, one that doubled as a tribute to her new country.
While both dresses featured long sleeves, Markle’s gown was unadorned by lace and had a boat neckline instead of Middleton’s iconic v-neck gown. Still, while Markle’s dress might have seemed more modern, it cost a fraction of what Middleton’s did. While Middleton’s dress cost $450,000, Markle’s only cost the Royal Family $135,000.
The Evening Receptions
All Royal weddings are followed by an evening reception. During this time, the guests who attended the ceremony dine with the newlywed couple and celebrate the married life that’s ahead of them. As you might imagine, when it comes to a Royal wedding reception, choosing the venue is absolutely crucial.
Of course, money is no option for the Royal family. So, when picking a venue for Royal weddings, they look into a location’s tradition and historical significance. Kate Middleton and Prince William chose to return to Buckingham Palace as a treat for their well-wishers. Meanwhile, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle opted for St. George’s Hall in Windsor Castle to continue their wedding celebration.
The Cost of the Royal Weddings
As you’ve already noticed, royal weddings certainly cost the Britsh Royal Family quite a bit of money. But how much, exactly? Well, Kate Middleton and Prince William’s wedding, with its two receptions and over 2,500 guests, cost the United Kingdom more than $34 million to put on.
Not to be outdone, however, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry spent even more on their wedding! The most recent royal wedding cost the Royal family nearly $55 million – and that doesn’t include the $2.6 million it cost to simply clean the streets of trash the next day! Still, neither of these weddings could ever hope to rival Diana’s, which cost the crown $110 million in today’s money!
Chelsy Davy – How The Ex Dressed
If you don’t know the name Chelsy Davy, you missed out on some of the biggest drama at both Royal weddings. For those not in the know: Davy is a Zimbabwean businesswoman who dated Prince Harry on-and-off from 2004 to 2011. When she earned an invitation to William’s wedding in 2011, it raised some eyebrows because, at the time, no one truly knew where Davy and Prince Harry stood. Still, she appeared happy, rocking a turquoise dress.
However, when Davy earned an invitation to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding, before some of the Markle family, even more questions arose. After all, not many invite their exes to their wedding. Thankfully, the drama ended with whispers, and Davy looked stunning in her navy blue dress and matching hat.
The Queen At The Royal Weddings
Like any grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II wouldn’t miss her grandsons’ most special day for anything in the world. The Queen chose bright pastel combinations on both occasions. Not only do these colors suit her well, but they also send a message. According to experts, Her Majesty always tries to wear colors that show people that she’s a warm and open-hearted person.
For Prince William’s wedding, the Queen wore an all-yellow outfit while for Prince Harry’s wedding, she opted for a bright green outfit with a touch of purple. While the price of the dresses remains undisclosed, we can imagine that the Queen spent quite a big chunk of Royal cash on them. With both, she wore matching hats, with her hair just peeping out underneath.
Bridesmaids & Pageboys Portraits
It might seem strange that William and Middleton decided to leave Middleton’s maid of honor, her sister Pippa, out of their traditional portrait. However, Kate Middleton actually broke tradition by having Pippa in the wedding ceremony. Traditionally, outside of parents, non-Royals are not allowed in the weddings. So, as a compromise, Pippa is not in the photos!
Then, in 2018, Markle decided to follow the tradition and opted not to have a maid of honor, so her portrait is with Harry’s niece and nephew and the bridesmaids and page boys, with her new husband right by her side. What’s more, William and Middleton’s portrait also had fewer members. That’s mostly because, for Harry and Markle’s portrait, William and Middleton’s were also included.
Sir Elton John and David Furnish
Always looking to honor their mother, neither Prince William nor Prince Harry would let their Royal weddings go on without the attendance of one of Princess Diana’s best friends, the only and only, Elton John. John attended both of the ceremonies in the company of his husband, David Furnish. Snazzy as always, the two wore matching tuxedos for both occasions.
At both Royal weddings, the couple looked like they were more than thrilled to take part. Reportedly, they spent about $4,000 each on their outfits, which is actually reasonable considering the legendary singer’s staggering net worth of almost $420 million!
The Brides’ Veils
Both Royal brides wore completely different veils on their special day. Believe it or not, Middleton’s veil was created in secrecy by the Royal School of Needlework. In fact, the details are still a secret! However, all could see that Middleton had a long train with a shorter veil that included many flowers at the end.
Meanwhile, Markle’s veil was 16.5 foot-long designed by the same designer who created the gown, Clare Waight Keller. The flowers sewn into Markle’s veil represent the 53 nations of the Commonwealth, paying tribute to Prince Harry’s role as Youth Ambassador for the Commonwealth. After Meghan told Keller she wanted to include a piece of all 53 countries in her veil, Keller suggested using the wildflower for each nation.
Pippa Middleton’s Gorgeous Dresses
As the sister of the Duchess of Cambridge, Pippa Middleton recieved invitations to both royal weddings, of course. For her sister’s wedding, Pippa opted for a lavish white gown perfectly fitting for her role as the maid of honor. The dress not only complimented Kate’s, but also subtly matched the other bridesmaid’s dresses, while still standing apart.
Meanwhile, for Meghan and Harry’s wedding, Pippa wore a light green dress with a floral pattern. Believe it or not, the gown, designed by famous company The Fold, cost roughly £495,000 ($650,000)! It’s safe to say that Pippa Middleton made everyone’s head turn at both royal weddings!
On their Royal weddings, both the Duchess of Sussex and the Duchess of Cambridge went for very simple jewelry. Well, simple for the Royal family. However, that’s where the similarities end! Kate Middleton wore Robinson Pelham diamond teardrop earrings. They were specially made for the Duchess and had a price tag of $20,000.
Meanwhile, Meghan Markle settled on a classic pair of Cartier earrings. While the Duchess of Sussex seems to have a preference for white gold, the silver beautifully complemented her look. What’s more, Markle purposefully opted for the minimalist earrings and made the 1932 Queen Mary Tiara a focal point.
What Princess Anne Wore
Just as the wedding party members are scrutinized for their outfits choice, hairstyle, makeup, and overall appearance, so too are the guests. In the left-hand picture below, you can see Princess Anne, daughter of Queen Elizabeth, wearing a cheerful green and purple for Prince William and Middleton’s royal wedding.
However, for Prince Harry and Markle’s big day, Anne opted for a unique style. Unfortunately, not everyone can appreciate a good sense of style. Above all, critics said that Anne’s dress for the 2018 wedding (right) reminded them of a nightgown their grandmother would wear. Ouch! Still, regardless of what she was wearing, Princess Anne seemed to have a great time at both weddings.
While it may be true that fewer people attended Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding compared to Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding, the difference may only come down to the venue. You see, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle couldn’t invite as many people to their site because St. George’s Chapel is considerably smaller than Westminster Abbey.
Even so, Prince William and Kate Middleton’s Royal weddings were the first in a global spotlight since that of Princess Diana’s. Thus, the crowd waiting outside the chapel’s doors were relatively the same. Moreover, they both achieved similar television ratings worldwide, with Harry and Meghan doing a little better in the US, while William and Kate did better in the UK. Still, Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ wedding remains the most public function in history.
The Phillips’ Outfits
In case you didn’t know, Peter Phillips is the eldest grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II. What’s more, he was the first one of the Queen’s grandchildren to wed and have kids of his own. Phillips married Autumn Kelly, a Canadian management consultant. In the picture below, you can see Autumn wearing a flared skirt to both royal weddings. Hey, when you know something works, rock it regularly!
In 2011, Autumn dashed a regal purple ensemble for Kate Middleton’s wedding to Prince William, emulating her grandmother. Meanwhile, for Harry and Markle’s wedding in 2018, she went for a cheerful, but not too bright, turquoise skirt. On the other hand, Peter decided to keep it simple and straightforward both times with traditional dark suits.
The Brides’ Arrivals
In 2011, The Duchess of Cambridge arrived at her wedding venue in a black car from the Royal Trust. This became one of the biggest moments of the wedding, as it became the first time that a Royal bride broke the tradition of arriving in a carriage. In the car, Kate Middleton was accompanied by her father, Michael Middleton.
Just like her sister-in-law, Meghan Markle opted for a car over carriage. However, the Duchess of Sussex preferred a vintage Roll-Royce vehicle for her iconic arrival at St. George’s Chapel. Instead of her father, who could not attend, Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland, accompanied her.
Lady Kitty Spencer’s Dresses
Princess Diana’s niece, Lady Kitty Spencer, has remained very close to her cousins and the Royal family in general. Unsurprisingly, Lady Spencer received an invitation for both of the royal weddings, and she looked incredible both times. In 2011, Spencer opted for a beige gown for the wedding of her cousin, Prince William, and Kate Middleton.
Meanwhile, in 2018, Spencer made sure all eyes were on her when she decided to rock a green ensemble with a floral pattern. While she looked just as stunning at the second royal wedding, she went with a far more notable fashion name: Dolce and Gabbana. Reportedly, Spencer’s entire look for Meghan and Harry’s wedding cost just over $1,500.
Two Royal Weddings, Two Venues
Neither Prince decided to marry where their mother Diana had, at St Paul’s Cathedral. Prince William and Kate Middleton tied the knot at Westminster Abbey in front of almost 2,000 people, not to mention the millions watching the ceremony around the world on TV.
Meanwhile, Prince Harry and Markle decided to marry in George’s Chapel in Windsor. You see, this is a special place for the couple as Prince Harry was christened there. While Westminster can hold almost 2,000 people, St. George’s Chapel can take in just barely 800 people. So it’s safe to say that Prince Harry and Markle had a relatively “private” ceremony.
Prince Phillip at the Weddings
Prince Philip, the grandfather of Prince William and Prince Harry, once said he wouldn’t miss their big days for anything in the world. For Middleton’s wedding, Prince Philip chose to wear his red Grenadier Guards Uniform. Alongside his uniform, Philip also proudly showed off the many well-deserved medals that he won while serving.
Then, for Harry’s wedding, Prince Philip opted for a smart look, sporting a formal, regal blue tie and a black tailored suit coat. According to royal experts, his recent hip surgery could explain his simpler ensemble for Harry and Markle’s wedding day. Still, Philip sure looked dashing both times!
After their wedding, Prince William drove his bride to the reception at Clarence House in a 1969 blue Aston Martin. A favorite of his, Queen Elizabeth gave the car to Prince Charles for his 21st birthday. For the wedding, they decorated the vehicle with streamers, balloons, and a back license plate, stating “JUST WED.”
Meanwhile, Prince Harry opted for a completely different car style. He drove Markle in a dark blue 1968 Jaguar E-Type Concept Zero to the wedding reception at Frogmore House. Reportedly, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex rented the vehicle for the staggering amount of $471,000. There’s no denying that the Royal family has an excellent taste in cars!
The Tindall’s Outfits
For those who might not know, Olympian Zara Tindall is Queen Elizabeth’s granddaughter via Princess Anne. So it’s no surprise that she and her husband, Mike Tindall, received invitations to both royal weddings. In 2011, Zara decided on a conservative, shiny grey gown for Prince William and Middleton’s big day.
However, in 2018, Zara opted for something more comfortable as she was pregnant at the time. She appeared in a blue frock coat with flower design and, of course, stunning matching shoes. Without a doubt, the piece is one of the most beautiful maternity dresses ever created. Only the best for royal weddings, after all.
The Bridesmaids of the Royal Weddings
Royal weddings have a tradition of choosing adorable little girls as the bridesmaids. Usually, they are the young daughters of members or friends of the Royal family. Not only did Diana follow this tradition, but so too did Markle and Middleton.
The Duchess of Sussex’s wedding included six bridesmaids and four page boys, including Princess Charlotte and Prince George, Prince William’s children. While Markle often tries to break Royal traditions, she followed this one. In fact, Middleton was the one who broke away the tradition and had her sister as her maid of honor!
The moment Markle and Middleton said “yes” and their engagements became official, they both knew they would have to make formal appearances in front of the press with their partners. Engagement debuts are part of the Royal wedding handbook, and they needed to follow protocol, just as Prince Diana had.
For their debut as an engaged couple, Middleton wore a long-sleeved blue dress while the Duchess of Sussex opted for a more easygoing outfit. You see, she wore a white coat dress for the first photo with her then groom-to-be, Prince Harry. While their styles were completely different, both brides-to-be look absolutely breathtaking!
Princess Eugenie’s Blue Dresses
Princess Eugenie recently tied the knot herself in a beautiful ceremony. However, she sparked even more conversation based on how stunning she looked at both Prince William’s and Prince Harry’s wedding. In case you don’t know, Princess Eugenie is known for her sense of style and bold fashion moves.
For William’s wedding, she wore an edgy blue grown with a matching hat that turned heads. However, for Prince Harry’s big day, she went for something much more traditional. There, she wore a retro blue dress, discreet jewelry, and clutched a grey bag. While both dresses were blue, that’s about all they had in common! Still, she looked incredible at both Royal weddings!
May the Best Man Win
Blood is thicker than water, meaning brothers make the best of friends. And that’s no different for the Royal family! Not only are they best friends, but Prince Harry and Prince William also chose each other to act as best man in their ceremonies.
The Royal brothers’ outfits were extremely elegant and chic in both instances. At both, they wore Royal uniforms. However, at Prince Williams’ wedding, they went for a much more dashing look, complete with tassels and medals. Meanwhile, at Prince Harry’s wedding, the pair wore matching Blues and Royals coats that made them look quite imposing and dashing, to say the least!
The Family Portraits
The Royal weddings even differed in how they took family portraits! In Prince William and Kate Middleton’s picture, the Royal family stood on his side of the photograph while Middleton’s family members stood beside her on the other side (below, top).
For the family portrait of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, however, the bride’s mom stood beside Prince William, Middleton, and their niece and nephew. This is probably because Doria Ragland was the only blood relative of Markle’s in attendance. As such, they simply took her in as a part of the family. Still, both portraits look incredible!