When the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge got married, one overwhelmed little bridesmaid stole the show as she was photographed crossly covering her ears from the noise of the crowd.
As Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tie the knot on Saturday they will have no such fears, after choosing a brood of children already well used to the limelight.
Ten little girls and boys are to take a starring role in the Royal wedding, from Prince George and Princess Charlotte to a host of Americans who are already Instagram stars.
Ms Markle’s friends, Jessica Mulroney and Benita Litt, will watch on proudly as five of their children are given roles in the bridal party, joining Prince Harry’s godchildren for the big day.
While the Prince, who is four, and three-year-old Princess are by now old hands at an English wedding, having been page boy and bridesmaid for their aunt Pippa Middleton, the American children will bring their own special touch to the wedding, having starred in their mother’s social media posts for years.
The full bridal party, announced by Kensington Palace, will include Ms Markle’s “fairy goddaughters” Remi and Rylan Litt, sisters aged six and seven respectively, and four-year-old Ivy Mulroney.
Ivy’s twin brothers, seven-year-old Brian and John Mulroney, will be page boys, with Ms Markle’s friends making up half of the attendant children.
Prince Harry’s godchildren will also take centre stage, including Zalie Warren, two, three-year-old Florence van Cutsem and Jasper Dyer, six.
Florence is a cousin of Grace Van Cutsem, best remembered for her balcony appearance with her hands over her ears at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
The party of ten, who may prove rather a handful without the supervision of an adult maid of honour, are likely to prove lively entertainment for the watching world.
While Prince Harry’s godchildren have never been in the public eye and may prove shy in front of the world’s cameras, his niece Princess Charlotte’s recent appearance at the Lindo Wing suggests she will enjoy her moment in the limelight.
Then, while her older brother held his father’s hand and walked quietly, she waved cheerfully, turning to face the media before going inside to offer one last pose.
The Prince and Princess, though, are photographed only a couple of times a year, with their image carefully protected by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Kensington Palace.
Ms Markle’s friends, on the other hand, are rather more practicised.
Ivy Mulroney, four, and her seven-year-old twin brothers are a daily staple of Mrs Mulroney’s Instagram page, posing willingly for home photoshoots with their mother.
Ivy often appears helping her mother get ready, putting on makeup and picking outfits, while Brian and John lark about together.
The grandchildren of former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, both Mrs Mulroney, a well-connected stylist, and her husband Ben are regulars on the social scene in Canada.
The family of five have already arrived in the UK, to begin preparations for the wedding.
The Litt sisters, who have appeared in Instagram pictures with Ms Markle, are the children of Darren and Benita, a handbag designer and close friend of the bride.
The inclusion of the children suggests Mrs Mulroney and Mrs Litt will take the roles of de facto adult bridesmaids behind the scenes on the day, marshalling the children who range from aged two to seven.
Also attending will be Zalie Warren, the daughter of Jake Warren, son of the Queen’s bloodstock and racing adviser John Warren, and his wife Zoe. Mr Warren is an old school friend of Prince Harry’s from Eton who asked him to be godfather to Zalie, one of his twin daughters.
Those who have been following Prince Harry through his life will be particularly touched to see Jasper Dyer, his godchild and son of Mark and Amanda Dyer.
Mr Dyer, who was photographed accompanying Ms Markle to the polo when she was dating Prince Harry, has been a long-term mentor of the Prince, taking him under his wing during the 1990s and early 2000s when the teenager was coming to terms with the death of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales.
Florence Van Cutsem is daughter of Alice van Cutsem and Nicholas van Cutsem, from a family who have been close to the Royals for generations.
The Duchess of Cambridge, who does not have an official role in the wedding, is now expected to take an active role on the day, supervising Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
The palace has already announced that Ms Markle is not having a maid of honour because she did not want to choose just one person from her close-knit group of friends.
The Duke of Cambridge will be Harry’s best man, missing the FA Cup final to be at his brother’s side.
The Duke, who has always been the front-runner for the supporting role at the wedding, is “honoured” to have been asked, Kensington Palace said.
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Who are the bridesmaids?
- Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, aged three, is Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s niece.
- Florence van Cutsem, aged three, is goddaughter of Prince Harry and daughter of Alice van Cutsem and Major Nicholas van Cutsem.
- Remi Litt, aged six, is goddaughter of Ms Markle and daughter of Benita Litt and Darren Litt.
- Rylan Litt, aged seven, is goddaughter of Ms Markle, daughter of Benita Litt and Darren Litt.
- Ivy Mulroney, aged four, is Jessica Mulroney and Benedict Mulroney’s daughter.
- Zalie Warren, aged two , is Prince Harry’s goddaughter and the daughter of Zoe Warren and Jake Warren
A look back at royal bridesmaids and pageboys
Who are the pageboys?
- Prince George of Cambridge, aged four, is Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s nephew.
- Jasper Dyer, aged six, is godson of Prince Harry and the son of Amanda Dyer and Mark Dyer.
- Brian Mulroney, aged seven, is the son of Jessica Mulroney and Benedict Mulroney.
- John Mulroney, aged seven, is the son of Jessica Mulroney and Benedict Mulroney.
Prince George of Cambridge will again be thrust into the limelight as he is expected to take the lead as one of four pageboys for his uncle and auntie’s wedding.
William and Kate’s eldest child is said to be shyer than his younger sister Charlotte, and the Duke has told how his son loves helicopters, flying and is obsessed with all things police-related.
Like Charlotte, George is rarely seen in public. The Duke and Duchess try to ensure their children are protected from media intrusion.
But the pair have appeared at key royal events such as the annual Trooping the Colour parade, and have joined William and Kate on official overseas tours.
Son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the third in line to the throne is no stranger to big public appearances even at the age of just four.
He will call upon the experience gained from performing a similar role at the wedding of Pippa Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge’s younger sister, to James Matthews in May last year.
It will be the second time in a month that the world’s media hones in on his family following the birth of his younger brother Prince Louis on April 23.
Princess Charlotte is blossoming into a natural when it comes to public appearances.
The way she played to the cameras as she arrived outside St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, central London, showed maturity beyond her years.
The three-year-old waved at photographers as her father, the Duke of Cambridge, walked her to meet her baby brother – Prince Louis.
Making her way up the steps to the Lindo Wing, she turned and waved again – a picture that was beamed across the world.
Her parents have told how the fourth in line to the throne rules the roost, saying she is “very sweet” but also feisty.
It is expected her mother, the Duchess of Cambridge, will play a supervisory role for the young pageboys and bridesmaids, something she did when her younger sister, Pippa, married James Matthews last year.
The Duchess was spotted giving a polite warning to the youngsters in her charge, who included George and Charlotte, holding her finger to her lips to make sure they were quiet as they entered the church.
Ivy is the four-year-old youngest child of Meghan’s stylist and best friend Jessica Mulroney. Her name is actually Isabel Veronica but she is nicknamed Ivy.
Jessica Mulroney runs a bridal store in Toronto, where Meghan used to film Suits, and is said to have helped the bride choose her wedding gown.
Mrs Mulroney, who is married to Benedict Mulroney, the son of former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney, was photographed arriving at Heathrow Airport with her family on Tuesday night.
When Ms Markle made her third official appearance at the Invictus Games in October, it was with two very important women by her side; her mother, Doria and Jessica Mulroney – arguably Canada’s best-connected fashion power player.
Her influence has already helped to propel a lucky clutch of Canadian fashion designers to global fame thanks to her role as stylist to Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, the wife of Canada’s charismatic prime minister, Justin Trudeau.
It was in Canada where the two met. Both were living in Toronto when Ms Markle was filming the US hit series Suits.
Having initially bonded over a shared love of yoga, they become close enough to go on holiday together and Ms Markle became close to the family – including Ivy, Brian and John.
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Florence van Cutsem
Three-year-old Florence is Prince Harry’s goddaughter, and the daughter of his long-standing family friend Major Nicholas van Cutsem and Alice van Cutsem.
Major van Cutsem, a major with the Household Cavalry’s Life Guards, has been a friend of Harry and William’s since childhood.
Remi and Rylan Litt
Remi Litt is the six-year-old daughter of Ms Markle’s close friend Benita Litt and her husband Darren Litt. Rylan is her older sister, aged seven.
Ms Markle is Remi and Rylan’s godmother and in a since deleted Instagram post, the actress shared a picture of herself with the family – including her two “fairy god-daughters” – showing them happily posing in front of a Christmas tree after spending the holidays together in 2016.
Benita runs her own brand agency under her name where she helps others to start businesses.
Zalie is the youngest of the bridesmaids at just two years old.
She is another of Harry’s goddaughters and the daughter of one of his best friends, Jake Warren and Mr Warren’s wife Zoe.
The Warren family are closely connected to the royals through horse-racing. Jake’s father John Warren is the Queen’s racing manager.
The father-and-son team run Highclere Stud in Newbury together.
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Six-year-old Jasper Dyer is also a godson of Harry’s and the son of his trusted mentor Mark Dyer and Mr Dyer’s wife Amanda.
Former Welsh Guards office Mr Dyer has been a key father figure to the prince since childhood.
A former equerry to the Prince of Wales, he was entrusted by Charles to keep an eye on Harry.
The pair travelled together in Harry’s gap year and he inspired the prince’s charity work in Lesotho, southern Africa, after arranging Harry’s first ever stay in the country.
Brian and John Mulroney
The fraternal twin sons of Jessica and Ben Mulroney are seven years old – and older siblings to Ivy Mulroney.
In an interview with thestar.com in 2014, Mrs Mulroney described how the boys were best friends.
“Ben was at the MMVAs (iHeartRadio Much Music Video Awards) and John did something really sweet,” she said. “He hugged Brian from behind and said, ‘Brian, you make me great’. “
The article described the children, who had two nannies, as “incredibly well-behaved”.
A very traditional ceremony
The couple will be make their vows at St George’s Chapel, which last hosted a royal wedding in May 2008 when Peter Phillips – son of The Princess Royal – married Autumn Kelly.
The traditional ceremony will be conducted by The Dean of Windsor, The Rt Revd. David Conner while the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will officiate as the couple make their marriage vows.
Pioneering American bishop, the Most Rev Bishop Michael Curry, from Chicago, Illinois, has been invited to deliver the address as the couple strive to reflect their transatlantic relationship amid the tradition of St George’s Chapel.
Bishop Curry, who has been praised for his “infectious laughter and self-deprecating humour”, is the first African-American bishop to have served as the Episcopal Church’s presiding bishop, a role he has held since November 2015.
The music will also have an American influence according to Christopher Warren-Green, who will conduct musicians on the day.
Ms Markle, who was a UN women’s advocate, is unlikely to opt to obey the prince. The couple will probably choose the Series One (1966) Book of Common Prayer ceremony, just as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge did, which allows the bride to drop “obey him” and “serve him” from the religious proceedings.
The regiments Prince Harry served with in Afghanistan will a have a “special place” during the ceremony.
The 3 Regiment Army Air Corps, where the prince served as an Apache Pilot in Helmand Province will be represented, as well as The Royal Gurkha Rifles, his comrades in Afghanistan in 2007, and RAF Honington, where he is Honorary Air Commandant.
Household Cavalry troopers will line the staircase at St George’s Chapel, while streets within the precincts of the castle will be lined by members of the Windsor Castle Guard from 1st Battalion Irish Guards, and by Armed Forces personnel from the Royal Navy Small Ships and Diving, which has the Prince as Commodore-in-Chief, and the Royal Marines, where he is Captain General.
Will Prince William be at the FA Cup?
It has been announced that Prince William will be Prince Harry’s best man. The decision means the Duke, who is President of the Football Association, will not attend the FA Cup final, which is happening on the same day as the wedding.
Scheduled to start at 17:15, the FA Cup final will see Chelsea and Manchester United go head to head for the title. Windsor Castle is about an hour’s drive from Wembley Stadium, which would have taken the Duke of Cambridge away from the proceedings for at least two hours.
Asked how he felt about being chosen as Prince Harry’s best man, the Duke said: “It feels great. [I am] thrilled and delighted obviously. Revenge is sweet. I’ll be looking forward to it.”
The Duke’s own stag do is reported to have been held on a Devon estate, Hartland Abbey, where he and close friends indulged in drinking, clay pigeon shooting, surfing and games.
Prince Harry went on to tease his brother mercilessly during a none-the-less heartfelt best man’s speech at the wedding reception, allegedly wearing a fez, mimicking the lovestruck conversations between a young Kate and William, and ridiculing his bald spot.
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