Windsor, whose pint-sized population of 30,000 belies its royal roots, is eager to roll out the red carpet for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s marriage on May 19. “It’s a celebration, and we’re keen to make sure that we put on a show for the people who are visiting,” says Rory Shanks, one of the owners of Heidi Bakery, which has developed three-tier wedding cupcakes in Harry and Meghan’s honor.
GET GEARED UP
Heidi sells its sugary confections at their café in Daniel, a century-old department store that holds the Queen’s Royal Warrant (basically, her stamp of approval) for supplying gifts. So presumably, given Daniel’s current range of wedding-related novelties, this is where the Queen would go to snag herself a Harry and Meghan fridge magnet and a Harry and Meghan dishcloth to dry her Harry and Meghan mug after enjoying a nice cuppa Harry and Meghan tea.
Then again, Liz could just pop into the Windsor Castle gift shop, which is hawking commemorative items emblazoned with the initials “H&M,” which should not, under any circumstances, be mistaken for representing the clothing shop H&M, purveyor of “distressed” (mauled by lions) denim short-shorts and other High Street fashions.
TOAST THE HAPPY COUPLE
Tie one on with a Windsor Knot. The Windsor and Eton Brewery originally produced this pale ale for Will and Kate’s wedding in 2011 and has rebranded their bottles for Harry and Meghan.
Alternatively, opt for a tot of Gin&’er, a ginger-infused gin that The Queen Charlotte pub in Windsor commissioned to celebrate redheaded (aka “ginger”) Harry getting hitched. The pub sent the first of 250 limited edition bottles to the prince himself, so if you wake up with a royal hangover, passed out in front of the “throne,” you’re probably in good company.
Keep it classy by popping the cork on a bottle of Chapel Down English Sparkling Wine, available at Marks & Spencer locations around the UK. The winery’s Brut Rose featured at Will and Kate’s reception, and it’s strongly rumored that their British bubbly will by quaffed by Harry and Meghan’s guests this May. (Might we suggest they call it the “The Markle Sparkler?”)
TOUR THE CASTLE
Walk in the footsteps of a millennia of monarchs at Windsor Castle, where the oldest bits date back nearly 1,000 years. Don’t expect the full Goldilocks experience, bouncing on Her Majesty’s bed and nosing around her medicine cabinet in the “throne room.” But you can tour St. George’s Chapel, where Harry and Meghan will wed, and gasp over the Liberace-style splendor of the castle’s State Rooms, where they will hold a reception.
For an entertaining, customized tour of the castle and town, book a Blue Badge Guide like Amanda Bryett through Windsor Tourist Guides.
Aside from a royal wedding, there are few occasions on the British social calendar more sartorially daunting than Royal Ascot, held seven miles from Windsor. The Queen herself is in the habit of attending this legendary racing meet, scheduled for June 19-23 this year.
While it’s fun to watch the thoroughbreds run, it’s even more entertaining to watch the people, decked out in top hats, tailcoats, and OTT women’s headwear, ranging from feathered headbands and hats to gravity-defying “fascinators” that Lady Gaga might shudder to wear on a dare. (For more absolutely fabulous Ascot fashion ideas, click here).
Coworth Park is a luxurious country house hotel from The Dorchester Collection, set on 240 acres in Ascot near Windsor. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were spotted here in the spring of 2017. Temptations range from a sunlit spa with an indoor swimming pool to horseback riding, polo fields, and several dining venues, including afternoon tea in the drawing room and the Michelin-starred Restaurant Coworth Park.