Announcement sets in train preparations for Harry and Meghan’s big day

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Prince Harry is engaged to be married to Meghan Markle and a royal wedding is being planned. So what happens next?

OFFICIAL PHOTOCALL

File photo dated 25/09/17 of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle watching Wheelchair Tennis at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada, as they have announced their engagement

File photo dated 25/09/17 of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle watching Wheelchair Tennis at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada, as they have announced their engagement

The prince and his bride-to-be will be expected to show off the engagement ring as they pose for their first photographs since announcing their impending nuptials.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge appeared together the same day at St James’s Palace in 2010, with Kate wearing the sapphire and diamond engagement ring that belonged to William’s mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.

There will also probably be a pre-recorded television interview and at a later date a set of official engagement photographs.

William and Kate’s were taken by celebrity photographer Mario Testino.

File photo dated 19/11/13 of Meghan Markle, as she and Prince Harry have announced their engagement

File photo dated 19/11/13 of Meghan Markle, as she and Prince Harry have announced their engagement

SETTING A DATE

A date will have already been fixed. Royal aides are said to have synced royal diaries a while ago to find a suitable day and make sure the Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and other royals could all attend.

Royal weddings usually take place only a few months after an engagement announcement.

March is the most likely month, leaving enough time to ensure pregnant Kate is not about to give birth to her third child.

A general view of Kensington High Street, London. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have announced their engagement

A general view of Kensington High Street, London. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have announced their engagement

VENUE

The venue will also have been decided and the Archbishop of Canterbury is expected to perform the ceremony.

St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle is a good bet. The 15th century church is grand, but will allow for a smaller scale royal wedding compared with Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral.

SECURITY

The Metropolitan Police will start planning immediately for the high-profile event. The current threat level for international terrorism in the UK is severe.

Extra officers will be drafted in to patrol the streets on the day amid tight security surrounding the chosen venue.

Ms Markle will also have been assigned a royal bodyguard from the Metropolitan Police’s Royalty and Specialist Protection Command.

THE GOWN

Bridal-wear designers around the world will be hoping to get the call for this royal wedding.

Ms Markle will no doubt already have an idea of what she wants.

The actress appeared in an Anne Barge ballgown wedding dress for her role as Rachel Zane in Suits, and her own first wedding to TV producer Trevor Engleson saw her wear a sleek, strapless, floor-length white dress with diamante detail.

Her stylist and close friend Jessica Mulroney runs the bridal store Kleinfeld Hudson’s Bay in Toronto, so it is likely Ms Mulroney will be Ms Markle’s first port of call for help picking out dress amid great secrecy.

GUESTS

Harry and his fiancee will have already drawn up a guest list, but there will also be a number of dignitaries they have to invite.

The prince’s grandmother, the Queen will, however, be on hand to help.

William revealed after his 2011 wedding: “I went to (the Queen) and said ‘Listen, I’ve got this list, not one person I know. What do I do?’

“And she went ‘Get rid of it. Start from your friends and then we’ll add those we need to in due course. It’s your day.’”

PLANNING

The Lord Chamberlain’s Office at Buckingham Palace is responsible for organising royal weddings.

Under the guidance of Harry’s private secretary, Edward Lane Fox, they will deal with the ceremonial aspects of the day.

From the sending of the invitations, to arranging any royal carriages, the nuptials and the schedule of the day, the Royal Household staff - with their meticulous planning and tried and trusted procedures - are skilled at executing smooth-running ceremonies and celebrations for royal VIPs.

The Office arranges the Queen’s garden parties for 8,000 guests at a time. It is also its duty to organise royal funerals and the State Opening of Parliament.

Its staff were responsible for sending out William and Kate’s gold embossed invitations and dealing with the hundreds of replies.

The day-to-day running of the Lord Chamberlain’s Office falls to the Comptroller, Lieutenant Colonel Sir Andrew Ford.

CAKE, FLOWERS AND HONEYMOON

From choosing the wedding cake to picking the flowers, Harry and Ms Markle will be busy as they prepare for their big day.

The wedding bouquet is likely to have myrtle in it, a tradition for royal brides.

A honeymoon will be booked, perhaps to Africa, a continent much loved by the prince.

The royal bride and groom will also have to approve Royal Collection wedding souvenirs, decide on a design for their cyphers and look at their Conjugal Coat of Arms.

A new official website will be launched for the royals after their wedding, as well most likely one celebrating the day.

Read: Prince Harry to marry actress Meghan Markle