Whether you’re a die-hard royalist or a binge-watching Suits fan, you’re likely getting excited about the upcoming wedding between one ginger-haired prince and his sleek and sophisticated fiancee. You’re not alone; it is estimated that over 1 billion people will tune in on May 19th.
As an American living in London, I have the unique perspective of once being a giddy princess-obsessed schoolgirl (my first pet was named Diana) and an adult who has learned enough about British history and culture to know there are more than four titles in the monarchy, that there is a difference between high and afternoon tea, and I have also realized that there are approximately 1,324,435 accents in this country and every single one of them is judged by someone else within 30 feet when in a public space.
This basically makes me an international spy.
As such, I am here to share a few tips to ensure you shine at whatever royal wedding party you decide to throw or attend. Or, hell, if you find yourself with an invite, at least you’ll know what color not to wear.
1 | Do not utter the words “Princess Meghan” or “Princess Kate” ever again. Seriously.
My fellow Americans, I want to first apologize to all of you as I know this section will break your romantic little hearts, but you need to deal with a little tough love if you want to really impress a Brit or at least avoid a polite passive-aggressive smile and an internal eye-roll (but let’s be honest; this entire article will result in both). This means you’re going to have to refrain from squealing “Princess Meghan” at all costs and develop an understanding of the monarchy beyond the Disney princess template. In reality, the monarchy is a historical institution with real world rules. Denying history and the facts established by it is fake news.
Do you want to perpetuate fake news?
I didn’t think so.
So, with these things in mind, here we go:
Marrying a prince does not make someone a princess, and here’s why: To be a princess, you need to be of royal blood. This means you must be born with the title. This is why Duchess Catherine is not Princess Kate, Meghan will never be Princess Rachel-and wait for it- Diana Spencer was not Princess Diana, but Diana, Princess of Wales, which is different (you’re going to send me hate mail aren’t you?)
On May 19th, Rachel Meghan Markle will become HRH Princess Henry of Wales and likely receive the official title of the Duchess of Sussex. Those are the facts. Embrace them. Throw them around like confetti across America. Toss an extra handful towards the editors at certain high-profile publishing houses who keep ignoring the memo.
Note: I’m sorry and you’re welcome.
2 | You’ll never see all black at a wedding here, royal or otherwise.
As a New Yorker, I’m admittedly irked by this fashion rule and deeply grateful to my gracious friend, Charlotte, for letting me break it before I knew just how terrible it made me look at her gorgeous-yet traditional- English wedding. While considered the epitome of chic amongst the Manhattan set, all black ensembles are set aside for mourning here in the UK (think about it; Queen Victoria, the royal diva who set the white wedding dress trend in motion) wore the color for 40 years after her beloved Albert died as a way to display her deep grief.
Here in the UK, it’s not uncommon to see less glamor something more along the lines of your Sunday best. Men are typically in lounge suits (dark suits) or morning suits and women here tend to love florals. Yes, some women wear hats and fascinators but it’s less a requirement at modern weddings.
3 | The traditional cake flavor here will surprise you.
In the states, wedding cakes come in a variety of colors and flavors with either fondant or buttercream icing. Amongst the posh set here in Britain, the traditional cake of choice is-wait for it-fruitcake.
As in that one weird, disgusting, hard, spicy lump that’s been re-gifted across America since 1952.
Fortunately, Harry (born Henry) and Meghan (born Rachel), something a bit more personal and palatable: a divine combination of lemon and elderflower made by Violet Cakes Founder, Claire Ptak. As a massive fan of both flavors, I am left heartbroken by the fact that I didn’t think of this first and when I copy for my next unbirthday party, I will look like “a typical American” #Eyeroll
4 | Meghan is already helping British brides find their voice
In the states, it is not uncommon to have speeches made by both the bride and groom as well as the best man and maid-of-honor, but in the UK, tradition has the men doing all of the talking (a trend I am happy to see scuttled into the archives, thankyouverymuch). When it was suggested that Meghan might- gasp!- speak at her own wedding, it was laughably front page news here in London. Now, I love tradition, but as a woman living in 2018, I was floored by the notion that a bride should stay silent in a room with her beloved whilst surrounded by her loved ones. I am a fan of all women using their voice when then they want to, regardless of the situation.
5 | The Brits are far more fun (and romantic!) than Americans might realize
Though we love to swoon over their accents and poke fun at their “stiff upper lip”, the real Brit is not an uptight tea-drinker with an ice-cold heart. In fact, I have found the opposite to be true: Brits are warm, funny, deeply romantic and truly believe in the power of long-term love. How else would you describe a society who, on average, commits after 5 dates and has an entire radio station dedicated to cheesy love songs which they have named Magic? The difference between our approach to romance is that Americans tend to focus on the kiss-us-in-the-rain type of love whereas Brits bond over laughter and banter which, until you understand it, can feel similar to being picked on by the kid who shows his or her crush by pointing out the Marmite in their teeth. While it was difficult for me to understand why my boyfriend made fun of my NYC-in-the-country boots and recorded my snoring (!), after living here almost a year and a half (and dating him nearly as long), I will admit that I would take his pointing out my muppet morning hair before giving me ten AM snogs (read: kisses) than one big wet one worthy of a credit roll.
(Photos: Daily Express, Daily Mail).