On Friday evening (May 18), just hours before the royal wedding, the palace released Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s official order of service for their ceremony. There, it broke down the minute-by-minute plan for the couple’s big day and revealed a few key details. And, perhaps most importantly, it also revealed that Meghan will leave out the word “obey” from her vows—but more on that later. Here, a full breakdown of the order of service.
According to the order of service, the wedding will be filled with music by a variety of artists. That includes the choir of St. George’s Chapel, which will be conducted by James Vivian, the chapel’s director of music.
During the ceremony, the organ will be played by Luke Bond, the assistant director of music at St. George’s Chapel, and Jason Richards, the organ scholar at St. George’s. The organists will be accompanied by cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason.
The orchestra, according to the document, will be made up of musicians drawn from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the English Chamber Orchestra, and the Philharmonia and will be conducted by Christopher Warren-Green. During Meghan’s procession down the aisle the orchestra will be joined by Elin Manahan Thomas (Soprano) and David Blackadder (Trumpet).
And, in a fun twist, Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir will sing “Stand By Me” following the couple’s vows. (In other words, have your tissues ready.)
Like Kate Middleton before her, Meghan has chosen to omit the word “obey” from her vows. According to the order of service, Meghan’s vows will read:
“I Meghan, take you, Harry, to be my husband, to have and to hold from this day forward; for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part; according to God’s holy law. In the presence of God I make this vow.”
Harry’s vows will echo Meghan’s. Of course, Meghan’s decision to leave out “obey” shouldn’t really be a surprise. Meghan, after all, is a feminist who has long advocated for the betterment of women’s lives everywhere.
In what will likely be one of the more emotional parts of the wedding ceremony, Lady Jane Fellowes, Princess Diana’s younger sister, will take to the altar to read from the Song of Solomon. It reads:
“My beloved speaks and says to me: ‘Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtle-dove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.’Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If one offered for love all the wealth of one’s house, it would be utterly scorned.”
When you can expect to see the Queen:
Yeah, it’s Meghan and Harry’s big day, but we all love a good queen sighting. According to the order of service, the rest of the royal family is expected to arrive around 11:25 a.m. local time. They will be seated at the Galilee Porch.
At 11:40 a.m., Prince Harry and his best man, Prince William, will arrive. A few minutes later, Prince Charles and his wife Camilla will arrive. They will be followed by Meghan’s mother, Doria. Finally, at 11:52 a.m. local time, Her Majesty The Queen is expected to arrive at the Galilee Porch. She will be received by the Dean of Windsor, who will present the Canons of Windsor and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Everyone is expected to stand. Oh yeah, Meghan will make her grand entrance after that.
One little error:
The order of service was likely assembled and sent to printers weeks ago, which is likely why it still lists Meghan Markle’s father, Thomas, as walking her down the aisle.
“The Bride, having been greeted by the Dean of Windsor, moves in procession through the Nave where she is joined by her Father, Mr Thomas Markle, to the High Altar. The Bridegroom and his Best Man await,” the program reads.
However, as we now know, Meghan will be making another feminist statement by choosing to enter the church alone. She’ll partially walk herself down the aisle before meeting Prince Charles halfway. He then will step back as she approaches Harry. Then, the pair will say their vows and, undoubtedly, live happily ever.