The new Duke and Duchess of Sussex had not one, but two wedding receptions yesterday.
The first celebration took place immediately after the ceremony at St. George's Hall in Windsor Castle. A more public-facing event, the lunchtime gathering was hosted by the Queen for 600 guests from the wedding service congregation.
Guests were served Pol Roger Champagne along with canapés and bowl food before speeches from Prince Charles and Prince Harry. Best man William served as compère.
The cutting of the cake, a lemon and elderflower sponge by Claire Ptak, also took place at the lunchtime reception.
At 180 feet (55.5 meters) long and 29.5 feet (9 meters) wide, St. George's Hall is the largest room in Windsor Castle. The Queen often uses the space to host formal state dinners with world leaders visiting from abroad. Though it was badly damaged by the fire at Windsor in 1992, it was later renovated in a modern Gothic style, according to the Royal Collection Trust.
The second reception was a private evening event for around 200 guests. Hosted by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, it took place at Frogmore House, a royal residence in Windsor, just half a mile from Windsor Castle. Frogmore House was also the venue for Harry and Meghan's official engagement photos, taken by Alexi Lubomirski.
Few details were released by Kensington Palace about the evening reception, but rumors include a speech from the bride, and a rather naughty Best Man speech from William. Prince Harry's close friends, Tom "Skippy" Inskip and Tom Van Straubenzee, also gave a cheeky joint speech, according to the Daily Mail.
Dinner, prepared by royal chef Mark Flanagan, was expected to be far more formal than the lunchtime reception. Likely at least three courses, Flanagan created a menu with Meghan and Harry that included seasonal ingredients sourced from the the Queen's estates. "There’s no experimentation on Saturday whatsoever, tried and tested and predominantly classics,” Flanagan told reporters last week.
DJ Sam Totolee got the dancing started, playing many of Harry's favorite house tracks.The evening concluded with a fireworks display.
The house has been in the royal family's possession for centuries. According to the royal family's website, the estate was first built from 1680-1684 by King Charles II's architect (Hugh May) for his nephew. Henry VIII later bought the property in the 16th century and leased it to tenants until King George III officially bought it for his wife, Queen Charlotte, in 1792. The name Frogmore was inspired by the abundance of frogs on the estate's marshland.
The surrounding gardens were added in the 1790s. The landscape upgrade included winding lakes, walks, bridges, and trees, the royal website states.
Decades later, Queen Elizabeth II's parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, would spend their honeymoon there. When she had a family of her own, Her Majesty and Prince Philip would retreat there with their children.
Harry and Meghan are not the first royals to choose Frogmore House as a reception venue. One of Harry's older cousins, Peter Phillips and his wife, Autumn Kelly, also tied the knot at St. George's Chapel and had their reception at Frogmore House back in 2008, The Telegraph reports.
Many of Harry’s closest family members had their wedding receptions at Buckingham Palace, including Prince William and Kate Middleton, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, and the Queen and Prince Philip (who hosted a post-ceremony breakfast).
In his second marriage to Camilla Parker Bowles, Prince Charles had a wedding reception at Windsor Castle (like Harry and Meghan) after getting married in a civil ceremony and having a special blessing at St. George’s Chapel, Hello reports.
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