While William and Kate married in London's Westminster Abbey, which seats 2,000 people, Harry and Meghan have opted for the less formal and more intimate St. George's Chapel in nearby Windsor for their upcoming wedding on May 19. Curious about this historic chapel located within Windsor Castle? Here's everything you need to know about St. George's Chapel — even whether or not mere mortals can marry there.
Where is St. George's Chapel?
St. George's Chapel is located on the grounds of Windsor Castle, which is the world's oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. The castle, one of Queen Elizabeth II's official residences, is located in Windsor, a charming town about an hour from London. You can actually take a tour of this posh pile, and St. George's Chapel is definitely one of the highlights, along with the lavishly decorated State Apartments.
The History of St. George's Chapel
St. George's Chapel is said to date back to the 14th century, and it was built in the Gothic style. One of its most noted features is its stone fan-vault ceiling, as well as its beautiful stained-glass windows, intricate woodwork, and black-and-white diamond-patterned marble floor in the choir. Ten monarchs are buried within the chapel, including King Henry VIII, King Edward VII, and King George VI (the queen's father), and the queen herself is expected to be buried there when she passes.
Royal Weddings at St. George's Chapel
While Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's nuptials might be the most high-profile wedding to take place in St. George's Chapel, there have been several other royal weddings over the years. In 2005, Prince Charles married Camilla Parker-Bowles here, with the queen in attendance, as well as William and Harry. Harry's uncle Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones tied the knot here in 1999, and this fall, Harry's cousin Princess Eugenie will follow in his footsteps when she weds Jack Brooksbank.
Can a Non-Royal Marry at St. George's Chapel?
You don't have to be royal to marry at St. George's Chapel (which seats 800), but because it's considered a Royal Peculiar, it's governed by the monarch, and her permission is required (even Harry and Meghan had to secure it). In addition to royals, knights, residents of Windsor Castle, and residents of the College of St. George are also allowed to wed here. If you don't fit into one of those categories, you're out of luck.
Things to Do if You Visit Windsor
From London, Windsor is an hour by car or train from Paddington or Waterloo stations. In addition to a tour of Windsor Castle (try to catch the changing of the guard), you can take a scenic French Brothers boat ride along the Thames River, tour the Windsor & Eton Brewery, and check out the shops. Have a pint of ale and a plate of fish and chips at The Carpenter’s Arms, one of Windsor's oldest pubs, and if you plan on staying the night, the Macdonald Windsor Hotel is a good option.
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