When Meghan takes her first royal carriage ride alongside Prince Harry following their wedding ceremony in Windsor on May 19, it will be an open-top affair, so that well-wishers lining the roads outside Windsor Castle can get a clear view of the happy couple.
But which carriage, exactly? The choice rests with Harry’s grandmother Queen Elizabeth, who houses all the carriages in the Royal Mews. (Located on the grounds of Buckingham Palace, the Royal Mews is a sort of parking garage for everything from horses to carriages to state cars.)
“My guess is that it will be an Ascot Landau,” suggests Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine. “It’s not as regal or grand as the Imperial State Landau, but it is perfect for the streets of Windsor.”
The procession may also include another Ascot Landau, carrying the best man – or “supporter,” as the the role is known in royal circles. If, as expected, Prince William is best man, he could be joined by the day’s junior attendants, which may include his own children, 4-year-old Prince George and 2-year-old Princess Charlotte.
Newlyweds Prince William and Kate Middleton used the Imperial State Landau, which had been built for Edward VII 109 years earlier, for their own wedding in April 2011. But that was held in London and, although the Queen has traveled in it for State visits when entertaining other heads of state in Windsor, it mostly remains in the capital city.
There is likely to be a fall-back option if it is raining – William and Kate had the Glass Coach on standby. (That coach was used by William’s late mother, Princess Diana, on the way to her wedding in 1981; Diana and Charles then used the Ascot Landau after the weather cleared.) “It’s the easiest one to see into,” says Little.
When the Queen’s youngest son, Prince Edward, married Sophie Rhys-Jones at St. George’s Chapel in June 1999, they had an Ascot Landau. Like Harry and Meghan, they rode through the streets of the historic town that lies about 30 miles west of London.
In 2008, when the Queen’s eldest grandchild, Peter Phillips, wed the then-Autumn Kelly, the couple rode away in the Balmoral Sociable carriage. But that time, there was no procession through town — instead, it went straight to the couple’s reception at Frogmore House on the grounds of Windsor Castle.