As they zipped off to their evening reception in a vintage Jaguar E-Type convertible, the brand new Duke and Duchess of Sussex exchanged the same loved-up looks they had for the earlier part of their wedding day. Driver Harry’s face said what he had voiced when he saw his bride at St George’s Chapel, “You look amazing.”
But while the newylweds were happy to share their emotions, vows, first kiss and details of their afternoon reception with the world, their exclusive evening party for just 200 lucky guests was a more closely- guarded affair.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex depart Windsor Castle for a reception hosted by The Prince of Wales at Frogmore House, in a silver blue Jaguar E-Type Concept Zero. This vehicle was originally manufactured in 1968, and has since been converted to electric power #RoyalWedding pic.twitter.com/hRrxEUlFlJ
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) May 19, 2018
There were plenty of rumours and long distance reports. The Express claimed there were plans for Prince Charles (who threw the night bash) to host a “secret disco with ice cream van”. Another report said the groom had insisted on a ‘Tiki-style bar’ and that “bacon and sausage sandwiches were made available late at night at Prince Harry’s request”.
While details will probably leak out in the coming days and weeks, what is known is that the smaller of the two receptions – a chance for the closest of friends and family to celebrate with the besotted couple – began at 7pm at the 17th century Frogmore House in the grounds of Windsor Castle.
Around four hours later, fireworks lit up the sky over the estate. The Telegraph reported that “the thud of loud music could be heard over the grounds of Windsor Castle as the newlyweds’ guests danced the night away.”
“Prince Harry, who guards his privacy quite ferociously, wants this to be his private night”, royals author Katie Nicholl told Entertainment Tonight as the party kicked off, calling it the “VIP” reception.
“It will be locked down. Of course, that’s where all the fun is going to be happening.”
Late night talk show host James Corden reportedly hosted, Meghan was said to have made a speech and according to bookies the hot tip for the first dance was Whitney Houston’s 1987 floor filler I Wanna Dance With Somebody.
The party was held in the Frogmore garden (where Harry, 33, and Meghan, 36, had their engagement photos taken) in a custom glass marquee costing nearly $600,000, according to reports.
The party reportedly featured an organic three-course sit-down dinner, house music from a DJ and the night’s signature cocktail was made from rum and ginger in a tribute to the groom’s red hair, and was said to be named ‘When Harry Met Meghan’.
Guests including tennis champ Serena Williams, actress Priyanka Chopra and Meghan’s stylist BFF Jessica Mulroney (whose twin sons held the bride’s five-metre-long veil as she entered and exited the church) posted photos on social media of their evening party outfits.
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) May 19, 2018
Earlier, on their way to the bash, Meghan revealed her bespoke Stella McCartney high neck silk crepe gown warn with Aquazzura shoes with soles painted in baby blue, while Harry was debonair in a classic tuxedo.
The racier evening affair followed a more sedate lunchtime reception hosted by the Queen.
Elton John, a longstanding friend of the royal family, played a mini concert which included Tiny Dancer (for the bride) and Circle of Life from Disney’s 1994 film The Lion King.
Sir Elton later honored the pair on social media:
“Love recognises no barriers.
— Elton John (@eltonofficial) May 19, 2018
Prince William introduced the newlyweds to the 600 guests before Prince Charles moved people to tears speaking about his “darling old Harry” and describing how moving it was to watch his little boy grow into a man.
Prince Harry reportedly looked like “the cat that got the cream” and was “effusive” in his speech about his new wife.
“He couldn’t get very far as every time he said ‘my wife’ everyone cheered and he had to go back to the beginning. It was very funny,” said Veronica German, who runs the charity Dolen Cymru Wales Lesotho Link.
The new duke was in a party mood. When he arrived at the stand-up lunch in St George’s Hall after a 25-minute carriage ride through Windsor streets he reportedly quipped, “I’m ready for a drink now.”
Added Peter Fearnhead, co-founder of African Parks, “He was completely charming about Meghan. They are so clearly in love. We all had a tear in our eye.”
The menu included grilled asparagus wrapped in ham, free range chicken with mushrooms and leeks, ten hour slow roasted Windsor pork belly, and pea and mint risotto with peas, truffle oil and parmesan crisps.
Sweet nibbles included champagne and pistachio macarons and orange crème brulee tartlets washed down with Pol Roger Brut Réserve Non-Vintage Champagne, and a selection of wines.
Chopra, one of Meghan’s closest friends, said the wedding “stood for change and hope”:
Every once in a while there is a moment when time stands still.. that happened today.. You my friend.. were the epitome of grace, love and beauty. Every choice made at this wedding by you both will go down in history, not just because it was your wedding but because this incredible wedding stood for change and hope. Both things that the world needs desperately. Thank you for being the perfect picture of all things good.. seeing your union and love blessed in front of my eyes Made me so happy.. and tear up! 😑 I wish you both love happiness and togetherness always.. 💕
A post shared by Priyanka Chopra (@priyankachopra) on
The generous bride and groom offered their guests white slippers to give their feet a rest after their long morning and afternoon.
“How amazing is this, because these shoes have come off,” actress Troian Bellisario – real life wife of Meghan’s Suits husband Patrick J Adams – said on social media while holding her high-heeled shoes. “They have slippers for us, slippers. I’m so ready.”
Weddings are a joyous occasion. But today was just off the charts amazing. Congratulations Meghan and Harry. I am so grateful I got to witness your love today. There are many happy years to come. Also. Thank you so much @annabelleharron & @temperleylondon for making me feel so beautiful on such a momentous occasion. And last but definitely not least… thank you @halfadams for being your devastatingly handsome self and letting me come along for the ride.
A post shared by Troian Bellisario (@sleepinthegardn) on
Meghan and Harry also gave out goodie bags to mark the special day.
Thousands of people invited to line Windsor Castle as the couple wed were given a beige and blue tote bag featuring Harry and Meghan’s initials, the wedding date and location of the ceremony.
The bags were stuffed with Windsor-labelled chocolate, water, biscuits, a coupon for 20 percent off at the castle’s shop and a magnet that read “Harry and Meghan’s Wedding.”
“The wedding was fabulous,” one guest told People. “The really nice touch was the goodie bag everyone was given together with a copy of the service.”