WINDSOR, England (Reuters) – British Prince Harry will welcome American actress Meghan Markle this Saturday in a union of youthful kingship and Hollywood glamor designed to revive the time-honored House of Windsor.
Harry, grandson of Queen Elizabeth and sixth in the line of succession, and Markle, star of the US television drama "Suits," will be the next Saturday in Windsor Castle, home of the British royal family for almost 1
With celebrities expected to join the Queen and older Royals for the ceremony and reception, thousands of journalists from around the world will descend to the picturesque town of Windsor.
"It's absolutely wonderful, it's going to be a very special day for everyone," said Harry's father Prince Charles on a visit to France this week.
Harry, 33, a former army officer and former royal wild child, met his bride on a blind date in July 2016, after being founded by a mutual friend. Markle, 36, said she knew little about her royal date while Harry said he had never heard of Markle or seen her television series. However, it was love at first sight, and after just two dates, he kidnapped her to Botswana for an intimate vacation, camping under the stars.
"The fact that I fell in love with Meghan so incredibly quickly was a confirmation to me that all the stars were matched, everything was perfect," Harry said in an interview to mark the engagement last November.
"This beautiful woman just stumbled and fell into my life, I fell into her life."
The wedding will take place on Saturday in the St. George's Chapel of Windsor Castle, home of the Queen west of London and the oldest and largest inhabited fortress in the world.
About 40 monarchs have called the castle home, and the chapel contains the remains of 10 kings, including Henry VIII and George VI, Elizabeth's father.
Markle contrasts this tradition with a strong contrast to modernity. As a divorced woman, with a white father and an African-American mother, her background has produced a source of great interest and commentary, not all positive.
Harry's office at Kensington Palace reprimanded the media in November 2016, rejecting the sexism and racism that Markle had suffered in some press reports.
Markle's family continued to go under scrutiny with their half-siblings, who criticize them in newspapers and say they had been snubbed after not having received invitations to the wedding.
However, both divorced parents, mother Doria Ragland, clinical therapist, and father Thomas Markle, former TV lighting director for soap and sitcoms, will play "important roles" that day.
Markle and her mother arrive in a car in the chapel, while her father will accompany them to the aisle.
This marriage has drawn comparisons with some notable episodes of recent royal history: Edward VIII's relationship with the American divorced Simpson Wallis, which led him to abdicate in 1936, and the deceased sister Margarete's decision to break her marriage to one Stable master Peter Townsend.
"Meghan will give the royal family a new perspective," said royal biographer Claudia Joseph. "Obviously, she comes from a very different background and … that's hugely important in leading the royal family into the future."
Harry, the younger son of the late Princess Diana, has always been a very popular member of the royal family family.
A cheeky child sticking his tongue out to his photographers has left a lasting memory in memory of many people when he solemnly walked behind his mother's coffin at the age of only 12, as her funeral procession after her death in London by car accident in 1997.
"I do not think a child should be asked to do so in all circumstances, I do not think it would happen today," he said in an interview published last June.
The effects of her death threw the Prince out of joint, and his teenage years were overshadowed by negative headlines. In 2002, he admitted to smoking in a pub near the manor of the Royal Family Cannabis and getting drunk in a pub.
Later, he rummaged in front of a London nightclub with paparazzi and caused indignation at a party as a Nazi officer.
After joining the army, he began to rebuild his life, to perform two duty trips in Afghanistan, and to escape media control and other impressions of his golden upbringing.
Now, an activist on mental health issues, he says he's about to collapse in his twenties. Such frank concessions of frailty have resonated with the British as well as their natural ease when mixed with the public.
"One of the reasons why Prince Harry is so popular was when he was young, he was a wild child, he got into a series of scratches," said the king's historian Hugo Vickers.
"All that has served is to make it even more popular."
A poll last week found that 71 percent of respondents had a positive opinion of Harry. That made him the runner-up of the Royals, just behind his brother, but ahead of the 92-year-old queen.
Markle, who was born in Los Angeles, made her first television appearance in a 2002 episode of the medical drama "General Hospital" and has appeared in other TV shows and films.
In 2011, she married film producer Trevor Engelson, but they divorced two years later. She achieved great fame as an actress for her starring role as Rachel Zane in the legal drama "Suits." She banished herself from the show last month after her character married her long-term love interest.
Meghan herself will not become a princess, but her unlikely marriage to Harry has led many to describe her as a magical children's story.
"Americans love the British royal family, and if you have an American actress who marries a British prince, that's the fairy tale," said biographer Joseph.
However, not everyone in the UK is certainly in agreement, and a poll this week suggested that more than half of the country would not see the wedding.
"The idea that one's aspiration was to marry someone else's wealth and status, the idea that Meghan Markle was unsuccessful, I do not think is right," said Graham Smith, managing director of the anti -monarchist election campaign Republic, said Reuters.
"That's not my idea of a fairytale."
Cut by Guy Faulconbridge and Giles Elgood