When news broke that Prince Harry had decided to marry Cressida Bonas a month before their due date, little did anyone know that the engagement would generate such a media frenzy. Little did anyone know that just a month after the engagement, Harry would reveal that he had, in fact, proposed to Cressida months earlier during the height of the Global Financial Crisis. Though the world may have been focused on Britain during that time, Cressida is American and, in fact, a direct descendant of President William Howard Taft. In this way, the royal engagement connected the royal family to one of the most prominent and influential American family names. When the dust settled, it was announced that Harry had purchased an estate, called Buckminster Palace, in the north west of England for Cressida and himself. The couple then began renovating the stately home, and it is expected that they will celebrate their wedding anniversary there in 2022.
Rocking The Throne
The wedding of Harry and Cressida will be the fifth marriage in the line of succession for the couple, whose children include four sets of twins. In addition to the couple’s three biological children, they are each raising a child with their partners. When it comes to drawing attention and provoking questions about his fitness to rule, Queen Elizabeth II is, in fact, Harry’s great-grandmother. As her heir, he will follow in her footsteps and carry out royal engagements, travel abroad, and settle into the role of King or Queen of Britain – and maybe even the world. Whether or not he plays the role to the hilt is, of course, another matter.
Unlike some of the other celebrity couples whose weddings we have covered on this blog, Harry and Cressida have not shied away from speaking about their engagement and upcoming wedding publicly. They have, in fact, spoken to media outlets about the significance of their union and, in the process, articulated the connections that drew them together. In an interview with USA Today, the couple emphasized their shared love of film and music, as well as their common interest in protecting wildlife and raising awareness about climate change. They also highlighted their interest in pursuing an environmentally friendly lifestyle. Cressida has made substantial changes to her house in preparation for the couple’s wedding. As the former head of a large advertising company, she reportedly oversaw renovations that doubled the size of her home. She also planted a vegetable garden and started riding a bike. In the coming months, the couple plans to continue the renovations and to invite guests to celebrate with them in the spring of 2022.
An Interest In All Things Medieval
Not only has Prince Harry been vocal about his support for British farmers and environmentalism, he has also expressed an interest in exploring his family’s genealogy. A member of the royal family since birth, Harry has researched his roots and has been particularly fascinated with the era of his great-grandfather, Lord Leopold, who reigned from 1884 to 1901. During that time, he established the first modern royal dukedom, granted to him by Queen Victoria in 1884. Though he did not regularly attend the House of Lords, Leopold championed many progressive causes, including votes for women and workers’ rights. According to the Prince Harry’s website, his great-grandfather was also “one of the first to employ a private secretary, a role that continued with his successors.” The website further states that he was “a passionate hunter and an excellent golfer,” and that he “enjoyed a drink but was not given to heavy drinking.” Though an often-wealthy individual, Leopold and his wife, Princess Marie, lived largely within their means and helped to fund the fight for women’s suffrage and gay rights. The King and Queen continued to support those causes even after Leopold died in 1919.
Harry has, thus far, refrained from publicly endorsing any particular political party or platform. In fact, he has stated that he is “not aligned to any particular ideology,” adding that he is “agnostic on the subject.” Nonetheless, he has expressed support for a number of progressive causes and made it clear that he plans to continue his family’s legacy and, potentially, rule as king or queen himself. What is more, he has made it known that he is open to the possibility of changing his surname to better reflect his ascension to the throne. Though many have speculated that he will, at some point, marry into the French royal family, a recent report from The Times stated that Harry’s first choice for bride-to-be is, in fact, a commoner. The newspaper reported that he “has turned down six royals and is said to prefer a bride from a commoner’s family.” Though the report did not identify the women that Harry has reportedly turned down, it also did not rule out the possibility that he may choose to wed the closest thing to a commoner that he can find. This would include, likely, royal dynasties such as the French or the German. Weddings between members of the British royal family are, of course, a given, but Harry appears to be looking farther afield than we have previously seen him do.
A Wedding Guest List That Is As Fancy As You Could Imagine
As the son and heir of Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Harry is, without question, a man of extraordinary privilege. Though he has, thus far, shied away from ostentatious displays of wealth and luxury, it is unclear how much, if any, of a bride’s family wealth he will bring to the wedding table. It is, however, certain that he will want to make a grand entrance and that he will want to celebrate in grand style. As such, it is likely that Harry will want to invite as many people as possible to the marriage, which is expected to be a celebration of up to four-hundred guests. Though the exact guest list has not been announced, it is not hard to imagine that some of the most prominent and influential individuals in the world will be there. These could include global celebrities, royalty, and business leaders.
Some of Harry’s high profile friends and associates have, in fact, spoken on his behalf, emphasizing his interest in expanding the guest list beyond the traditional confines of the royal family. In an interview with The Sun, actor Jeremy Irons stated that he is “very interested” in attending the wedding of the heir to the throne. Though he did not specify exactly why he was interested in attending the royal wedding, he did state that he and Harry “have a really, really good understanding of each other.” What this means is that they have spoken to one another and developed a rapport, which has allowed them to have an extended conversation about topics that would ordinarily be considered off-limits. Having a famous actor in your wedding party can, no doubt, be a useful tactic in terms of generating publicity far beyond what would be considered reasonable. Though this may, in fact, be beneficial to the newlyweds and perhaps even the nation, it is still rather un-British to invite people from the performing arts to one’s wedding. Still, it appears that Harry wants to push the boundaries of what is considered acceptable and has, thus far, been applauded for doing so. We will, no doubt, have to wait until the wedding day to find out just how successful he has been in his endeavor.
Though the focus of the media has been on Harry and Cressida’s romance and their upcoming marriage, the media frenzy has, in fact, generated considerable interest in Islam as well. The couple’s choice of religion is, arguably, the most prominent and important detail to emerge from the whole affair. The fact that they have chosen to wed a woman from a Muslim background has, thus far, received widespread coverage – in particular, because Harry’s aunt, the former Queen Mother, is one of the few remaining descendants of the Prophet Mohammed. As the Sun article stated, “the most prominent [relative] of the century” is set to wed her Christian partner. What this means is that the wedding will, likely, be covered extensively by British media and will be used as a way to explore and question the role of the Muslim faith in modern Britain. Though it is not yet known who the best man will be, the list of candidates is endless. This, in itself, is an interesting development for a country that has largely shied away from exploring Islamic faith and has, for the most part, hidden its Muslim heritage.