How Meghan and Harry's official wedding photographs capture the importance - and joy - of the day
It captures four generations of the Royal family in the gilded surroundings of Windsor Castle, recording for the history books the moment Meghan Markle entered the Royal family on the arm of her Prince. As the world has come to expect from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, though, they brought their own unique style to their official wedding photographs. In the splendour of Windsor Castle’s Green Room, the Queen and her descendants gathered just an hour after the wedding service on Saturday, for a series of images that captured both the importance of the occasion and the joy of a smitten couple. With the Duke of Edinburgh, 96, on one side, and a beaming Prince George, four, on the other, playful bridesmaids and pageboys scatter cross-legged on the floor. The bride, radiant at the very centre of the photograph, is flanked by the two pillars in her life: her new husband and her mother, Doria Ragland. Royal Wedding portraits compared Ms Ragland, the only member of the Duchess’s family who attended the wedding, stands proudly at the heart of the newly-joined family, praised for her dignity and grace on an emotional wedding day. The photograph is a striking contrast to even the most recent Royal wedding, abandoning the formal lined-up pose chosen by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for their 2011 photographs. Instead, the newlyweds opt for an artfully arranged bridal party comprising ten children, ushered into position around the Queen, which could have come straight from the pages of Vogue. A second image shows the Duke and Duchess sitting on low stools with the children, including Prince George and Princess Charlotte who had clearly been practising their smiles for the camera. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with their bridesmaids and page boys Credit: Alexi Lubomirski/Kensington Palace The third, featuring just the bride and groom, is shot in black and white, capturing the moment they could finally relax in the privacy of the castle after their very public wedding. The picture echoes the style of the couple’s engagement photographs, in which they nestled romantically together in images that could have come straight out of a glossy magazine. The official photographs, by Alexi Lubomirski, were released by Kensington Palace, after they had been edited and shown to the Duke and Duchess. A Kensington Palace spokesman said: "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex would like to thank everyone who took part in the celebrations of their wedding on Saturday. A black and white photograph of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle - the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex Credit: Alexi Lubomirski/Kensington Palace "They feel so lucky to have been able to share their day with all those gathered in Windsor and also all those who watched the wedding on television across the UK, Commonwealth, and around the world. "Their Royal Highnesses are delighted with these official portraits taken by Alexi Lubomirski and are happy to be able to share them today. "They would also like to say thank you for all of the generous messages of support they have received." Mr Lubomirski, who also took the couple's official engagement pictures, said: "It has been an incredible honour and privilege to document the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's inspiring journey of love, hope and family; from the engagement photos, all the way through to the official wedding and family portraits on Saturday. "This has been a beautiful chapter in my career and life, that I will happily never forget." The young bridesmaids and their mothers arrive at St George's Chapel Credit: PA The collection of images spans the generations of the Royal family, with the Queen and all three of her heirs captured smiling, and 95 years, from the Duke of Edinburgh, who turns 97 next month, to two-year-old bridesmaid Zalie Warren. The ten children, full of beans after the wedding, were kept in line by friendly palace aides, as the bride and groom stand serenely in the middle. The irrepressible youngsters are understood to have been particularly excited by the success of their walk down the aisle, which had proved chaotic in rehearsals but proved a triumph on the day. Although the finished photographs are fresh in their composition, they do contain key elements of the classic official Royal photograph. The wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011 Credit: Hugo Burnand/Clarence House In the most formal picture of the whole family, the Duchess honours the Queen with the prominent display of her five-metre-long veil, arranged across the carpet and embroidered with 53 flowers representing each Commonwealth country so close to Her Majesty’s heart. Her father-in-law, the Prince of Wales, stands next to his son, after accompanying the Duchess up the aisle to the altar earlier that afternoon. The Duke of Cambridge, the best man, appears on the other side, in his frockcoat uniform of the Blues and Royals, while the Duchess of Cambridge holds a placid Princess Charlotte on her knee. Prince George, who will one day be king, has been given his own gilded chair, smiling confidently for posterity after a series of shy public appearances recently. The official photograph of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their wedding day Credit: Hugo Burnand The Duke of Sussex, beaming with pride, stands behind his wife, allowing her to shine in a turning point of a life which has changed so much in two short years. Her mother, Ms Ragland, is given the most prominent position, her outfit coordinating with the Queen and coincidentally matching the decor of the Green Room. The proud mother will soon return to her full-time job as a social worker in Los Angeles after what has proved a whirlwind week with the Royal family. She is said to have been warmly welcomed by the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, who have each invited her to tea, with the Prince escorting her thoughtfully throughout the wedding day. The wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana Credit: Lord Lichfield She is now expected to make regular visits to see her daughter and son-in-law at Kensington Palace when time and her holiday allowance permit, and will be invited to key Royal gatherings along with the Duchess if their schedules align. Of course, not everything on the photoshoot went perfectly to plan. One bridesmaid, Remi Litt, appears to have pulled a flower out of her bouquet, while Zalie was absorbed in something more interesting off camera. Ivy Mulroney, four, and three-year-old Florence Van Cutsem seemed to have formed a sweet friendship, holding hands as they shared a bouquet in a gesture perhaps suggesting one of the children had mislaid their own along the way. The second photograph, of the newlyweds and children also sees pageboys lean casually against the chairs, while Princess Charlotte sits in the cross-legged position she has likely learned at nursery. The Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, and Prince Philip on their wedding day Jasper Dyer, the Duke’s godson, appears solemn in one image and lively in the other, while Rylan Litt, seven, remains picture-perfect throughout. The Duke and Duchess’ own photograph, which sees them on the steps of the East Terrace, Windsor Castle, was taken between their carriage ride through Windsor and their afternoon reception. After returning to Kensington Palace on Monday night following a short break, they will make their first public appearance on Tuesday to celebrate the 70th birthday of the Prince of Wales. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's engagement photo Credit: Alexi Lubomirski Who is photographer Alexi Lubomirski? New York-based Lubomirski is one of Hollywood's go-to men when it comes to photography, creating energetic, aspirational, flattering and yet a little bit imperfect images which mean that for some actresses, he's the only person they'll allow to photograph them, writes the Telegraph's Bethan Holt. Some of his more recent subjects include Nicole Kidman, Emilia Clarke (both for US Elle), Kate Winslet and Julia Roberts (both for Harper's Bazaar UK). Alexi Lubomirski Credit: PA Lubomirski also happens to be a Prince himself. His full title is His Serene Highness Prince Alexi Lubomirski. The British-born son of Peruvian-English mother and a Polish-French father, he studied at the University of Brighton but is a true globetrotter. His family moved to Botswana - the country which Meghan and Harry have credited with offering a haven as their romance blossomed - when he was eight and he has lived in Paris and New York as an adult. He was taken under the wing of Mario Testino soon after graduating and spent four years as his assistant. Testino took some of the most glamorous yet honest portraits of Harry's mother, Princess Diana, and also lensed the engagement portraits of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. John and Brian Mulroney carry the Duchess' veil Credit: PA What next for the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex? The royal couple head straight back to work this week after an emotional ceremony that captivated the nation and a star-studded reception. Unlike other newlyweds, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will not be jetting off on a honeymoon straight away - instead, they will be back on royal duty, carrying out their first official engagements as husband and wife. The couple, who exchanged vows in a ceremony watched by millions across the world on Saturday, are due to attend a Buckingham Palace garden party on Tuesday as part of the Prince of Wales's 70th birthday celebrations. The official photograph from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's 2011 wedding Credit: Hugo Burnand It will mark the beginning of a new life for the Duchess, who has already spoken of her desire to "hit the ground running" in her role as a full-time member of the Royal family. Shortly after the couple were proclaimed husband and wife at St George's Chapel in Windsor, Kensington Palace's social media pages and the royal family's website had been updated to reflect their newest member. And the Duchess has been given the blessing of Buckingham Palace to use her position to fight for feminism, as she is expected to announce which charities and campaigns she will support when she returns from her honeymoon. Royal wedding day pictures: Best photos from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's ceremony and reception However, a biography of the Los Angeles-born Suits star on the monarchy's official website suggested she will use her role to champion feminist causes. It described her "lifelong commitment" to working to promote "social justice and women's empowerment", carrying a quote in which she declares: "I am proud to be a woman and a feminist." The Duchess, who is reported to have broken with tradition to give a speech of her own at the wedding reception, has worked with a number of charities in the past, including UN Women and World Vision. She will continue working with the Royal Foundation alongside Harry and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. A visit to Australia is in the diary for October, for the 2018 Invictus Games, while other trips abroad this year are said to be in the pipeline. But despite their hectic schedules, the couple seized the opportunity to spend some time away from the public eye on Sunday. Royal wedding | Read more After two receptions hosted by the Queen and Prince of Wales on Saturday - with some guests said to have continued partying well after Frogmore House closed its doors - the royal newlyweds left Windsor Castle on Sunday afternoon for some well-earned privacy. Only the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were seen returning home to Kensington Palace on Sunday evening. Guests of the royal couple had celebrated the couple tying the knot at an evening reception at which Idris Elba turned DJ and danced into the small hours with fireworks and a playlist of soul classics. The newlyweds are said to have eschewed a slow first dance for livelier tunes, from 1960s R&B to the dance hits of the 1980s. They are said to have chosen "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" as an opening number, with guests treated to a sit-down dinner after a long day in front of the cameras at Windsor Castle. Our picture editors' 20 favourite images of the Royal wedding Video: Best moments from royal wedding on camera The grand finale of the royal wedding saw 200 people join a black-tie dinner and evening celebrations at Frogmore House. The Prince of Wales staged the black-tie evening dinner for the couple, who arrived in a environmentally-friendly 1968 Jaguar E-Type Concept Zero that ran on electric power. As well as family members including Princess Beatrice and Eugenie and the Earl and Countess of Wessex, evening guests included George and Amal Clooney, Tom Hardy, and Idris Elba, who was said to have taken a spin on DJ decks. But the fun did not stop when Frogmore House - the famous royal home loved by Queen Victoria - closed it doors, as some guests are said to have staged an after party at top London hot spot Chiltern Firehouse. The most stylish guests from Prince Harry's wedding to Meghan Markle In their first official engagement as husband and wife, the Duke and Duchess will attend a 70th birthday patronage celebration for the Prince of Wales. The outdoor event marks the heir to the throne's milestone birthday - which falls in November - by recognising Charles' patronages and military affiliations as well as others involved in charities supported by the royal. The Duchess previously said she wants to "hit the ground running" on becoming a full-time member of the Royal family. The couple will not immediately leave for their honeymoon, but remain in the UK for a period of time before taking the traditional break. Countries such as Botswana - which offers stunning wildlife, breathtaking scenery and, importantly, privacy from prying eyes - could be top of the list. Cutest pictures of Prince George, Princess Charlotte and more young royals at the wedding But the couple may first spend a few days in Ireland, according to reports, making their inaugural overseas trip as a married couple to the Republic, while their honeymoon is put on hold for a period. Botswana is a place the Duke loves and knows well, and he reportedly whisked his fiancee to the southern African country in 2017 to mark her 36th birthday.