London: Britain’s Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle today revealed plans to invite 2,640 members of the public into the grounds of the Windsor Castle for their wedding in May so that more people get to be part of the royal celebration.
The Kensington Palace said the couple wants the special day to be shaped so as to allow members of the public to feel part of the celebrations.
“Prince Harry and Ms Meghan Markle will invite 2,640 members of the public to Windsor Castle on their wedding day to watch the arrivals of the bride and groom and their guests and the carriage procession as it departs from the castle,” the Palace said.
“The couple has asked that the people chosen are from a broad range of backgrounds and ages, including young people who have shown strong leadership, and those who have served their communities,” a spokesperson said.
Prince Harry had announced engagement to his American actress girlfriend in November last year and preparations have since been underway for what is expected to be among the most photographed royal events of the year.
Around 1,200 people from all corners of the UK will be selected by Lord Lieutenants of the royal family. Around 200 people from charities and organisations close to Prince Harry, 33, and Markle, 36, will also be invited to the palace grounds on the day. They are likely to include the stars and staff from the Armed Forces’ Invictus Games launched by the prince, mental health charities, HIV awareness campaigns and seriously ill children.
Other guests will include 100 pupils from two local schools, 610 Windsor Castle community members and 530 members of the Royal Household and the royal family’s Crown Estate.
“This wedding, like all weddings, will be a moment of fun and joy that will reflect the characters and values of the bride and groom,” the Kensington Palace said.
The couple is set to marry at the St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle at midday on May 19. At 1300 hours local time they will travel through Windsor in Berkshire in a carriage to allow the city to catch a glimpse of the newly-weds before their wedding reception back at the castle.
Members of the public hand-picked for the invitations will watch the arrivals of the bride, groom and wedding guests as well as the carriage procession as it departs from the castle after the service.
Prince Harry and Markle have gone against royal tradition by choosing a Saturday for their big day, as royal weddings usually take place on a week day.
Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, married on a Friday and their service began at 11am at Westminster Abbey.
Prince Harry, the fifth in line to Britain’s throne, had proposed to the actress, best known for her role as Rachel Zane in the television show “Suits”, during a cosy night over a roast chicken dinner after a 16-month whirlwind romance.