Updated May 15.
It’s not that we wouldn’t be excited about a royal wedding, but when one of our own (an American) is the bride marrying into the British royal family, we can’t help but want to brush up on royal history and etiquette before watching the wedding ceremony on Saturday, May 19. Our sold-out “To the Manor Born” tour of England will be visiting the wedding site just two weeks after the big day!
Prince Harry (Prince Henry of Wales), the younger son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, and his betrothed, Meghan Markle, a Hollywood-raised actress whose parents are Doria Loyce Ragland, a social worker and yoga teacher, and Thomas Markle, a lighting designer, will have the eyes of the world upon them in the live televised ceremony. Publicity about the wedding spiked when days prior, reports suggested that Markle’s father would not attend, let alone walk his daughter down the aisle. The change in plans stems from his engaging in staged paparazzi photos. (Prince Harry has particularly strong feelings against paparazzi, as his mother was not only hounded by photographers, but she died in a car crash while trying to escape them.)
Indulge your curiosity and learn history at the same time by watching all week long on WLIW.
The Royal Wedding Watch Schedule
The Royal Wedding Watch will inform us about the traditions, logistics, fashion, and rules that the couple and the rest of the royals will follow for the big day. All week before the wedding, go behind the headlines with show host Meredith Vieira, U.K. host Matt Baker, expert guests and commentators, as well as journalist Anita Rani, who will report from Windsor Castle, the seat of the Royal Family and site of the wedding. You can stream each episode for 10 days after broadcast.
A Wedding is Announced: Episode 1
Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 12 a.m. & 4 p.m.
Join hosts Meredith Vieira and Matt Baker to learn more about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s romance and discover what it takes to be a royal bride in training. Historian Lucy Worsley reveals how Queen Victoria set the trend for the modern white wedding. Victoria was the woman to establish white as the de rigueur color choice of dress. The color was a nod to all Royal Wedding watchers: Victoria thought white would make her more visible to the public as she rode to and from the ceremony in her carriage.
PBS watchers may recognize Lucy as the host of Secrets of the Six Wives, which goes back to the Tudor court period to witness dramatic moments in the lives of Henry VIII’s six wives, each of whom found a method of exerting influence.
What to Wear: Episode 2
Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 12 a.m. & 4 p.m.
Follow historian Lucy Worsley into the archives to see dresses chosen by previous royal brides in England. Experts and commentators join Meredith Vieira and Matt Baker to determine why royal style is dictated as much by protocol and etiquette as by fashion.
Ceremony: Episode 3
Thursday, May 16, 2018 at 12 a.m. & 4 p.m.
Examine the ceremony and traditions at the heart of a royal wedding, which even a modern couple must follow (will “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston be the first dance song?). Experts, commentators and guests dissect the finer points of royal protocol, while Lucy Worsley surveys the history of royal marriages. She’ll be exploring the archives and the Palaces to reveal Queen Victoria’s role as a Royal trendsetter and the ins and outs of a Royal banquet.
How to Celebrate: Episode 4
Friday, May 17, 2018 at 12 a.m. & 4 p.m.
Learn how the royal family celebrates a royal marriage. Experts and commentators join Meredith Vieira and Matt Baker to talk about everything from the carriage procession to the cake. Anita Rani reports from Windsor Castle, where preparations are in full swing.
Happily Ever After: Episode 5
Saturday, May 19, 2018 at 12 a.m. and Monday, May 21, 2018 at 4 p.m.
Join Vieira and Baker, and experts, commentators and guests for the final countdown. Anita Rani reports from Windsor, where crowds gather for the celebrations. Historian Lucy Worsley explores Kensington Palace, soon to be Meghan and Harry’s new home.
The Royal Wedding: Prince Harry & Meghan Markle
Saturday, May 19, 2018 11 a.m. and 7:30pm on WLIW (pre-recorded coverage)
We share a language with the British, but not a timezone: England is five hours ahead of New York. The choice is yours: wake up early for the live coverage of the Royal Wedding, starting at 4 a.m. on THIRTEEN; or, take your time to prepare a celebratory brunch and begin viewing the Royal Wedding at 11am with WLIW! In 2011, the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton drew 23 million viewers in the United States (nearly 27 million in the U.K.).
Like a red carpet event, coverage will begin with the friends, families and dignitaries arriving for the ceremony at St. George’s Chapel, on the grounds of Windsor Castle. Should you decide to watch the live coverage on THIRTEEN, note that excitement will peak at these local Eastern Standard Times (schedule subject to change):
6:45 a.m. (11:45 a.m. in UK): Prince Harry and his brother and best man – the Duke of Cambridge – arrive at the chapel’s west steps.
6:55 a.m. (11:55 a.m. in UK): Queen Elizabeth, Prince Harry’s grandmother, will be the final member of the Royal Family to arrive for the service at the chapel.
6:59 a.m. (11:59 a.m. in UK): Meghan Markle arrives at the chapel’s west steps with her mother.
7 a.m. (12 p.m. in UK): The wedding ceremony begins with Meghan Markle walking down the aisle of St. George’s Chapel.
8 a.m. (1 p.m. in UK): The wedding ceremony ends, and the bride and groom begin their procession from the chapel in a carriage; if it’s good weather, it will be an open-topped Ascot Landau carriage. Their path is a hairpin one past throngs of well-wishers, south through the Windsor streets and back north along the tree-lined Long Walk to Windsor Castle, where a reception hosted by the Queen will be held for 800 guests.
After the wedding, Royal Wedding Watch will present a 90-minute recap of highlights from the day in a streaming video, available Saturday evening or Sunday. That Royal Wedding episode will feature the entire ceremony within St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle as well as commentary and pomp and circumstance.
More Royals to Watch – At Your Command!
Watch documentary series on the Queen Elizabeth, dramatizations of past Royal Families (and plotters), and more on WLIW, which offers streaming video now for online and PBS OTT app viewing. Past programs are often available through the WLIW member benefit, WLIW21 Passport, which supports all of our programming and activities.
Queen & Country
In this series from 2012, join veteran newsman Sir Trevor McDonald as he looks at the traditions and institutions surrounding the monarchy, from Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace through the queen’s royal visits … to some of the greatest historic royal palaces. Watch the four episodes now.
The Queen’s Garden
With permission from her Majesty the Queen, this program reveals a year in Buckingham Palace Garden, exploring the history and the natural history of this remarkable hidden royal treasure right in the heart of London. Watch now with WLIW21 Passport.
King Charles III – Masterpiece
The hit Broadway show King Charles III is adapted for television. A 2016 Tony nominee for Best Play, King Charles III imagines Prince Charles’ ascension to the throne following Queen Elizabeth’s death. Starring the late Tim Pigott-Smith. Watch now with WLIW21 Passport. (Through May 13, 2018 only.)
Victoria – Masterpiece
Discover the epic story of Victoria, one of England’s youngest queens, starring Jenna Coleman as Victoria and Rufus Sewell as her advisor Lord Melbourne. Her royal marriage? In the first season, see Victoria fall in love with and marry Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (Tom Hughes). Watch now with WLIW21 Passport.
Queen Elizabeth’s Secret Agents
This series uncovers the secret state that helped keep Queen Elizabeth in power for over 40 years. During a time when Britain was divided, unstable and violent, the world’s first secret service was born. Run by William and Robert Cecil, this father and son team had the duty of protecting the Queen and the Country. Watch now with WLIW21 Passport.
Wolf Hall – Masterpiece
A historical drama for a modern audience, Wolf Hall, the 2016 Peabody Award and Golden Globe winner for Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television, tells the story of Thomas Cromwell, played by Mark Rylance. He’s a blacksmith’s son who rises from the ashes of personal disaster, and deftly picks his way through King Henry VIII’s court, where “man is wolf to man.” Also starring Damian Lewis and Claire Foy, the series Wolf Hall is based on the books by Hilary Mantel. Watch now with WLIW21 Passport.
Secrets of the Six Wives
Travel with historian Lucy Worsley (The Royal Wedding Watch) back to the Tudor court to witness some of the most dramatic moments in the lives of Henry VIII’s six wives, each of whom found a method of exerting influence. The programs combine drama with historical comment. Watch now with WLIW21 Passport.