The Royal Wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry was, in one word, stunning.
The long-awaited dress was beautiful in its controlled, immaculate simplicity. While billions of eyes (literally, two billion people watched the ceremony) followed Meghan, what many missed were the gorgeous nods to the groom’s late mother, Princess Diana.
At first it was believed that the seat next to Prince William had been kept empty as a tribute to Diana, but this wasn’t actually true. As it turns out, it was a matter of royal protocol, as the seat in front of the Queen is always kept empty.
Btw - I’ve seen some reports about the spare seat by Prince William in the chapel as having being left in memory of Princess Diana. It wasn’t empty for that reason. The seat in front of the Queen is always left empty, I am told by BP #royalwedding
— Rebecca English (@RE_DailyMail) May 19, 2018
Here are the eight ways the Royal Wedding actually paid homage to the beloved Princess.
1. Meghan wore jewellery that once belonged to the Princess.
It's already common knowledge that Meghan's engagement ring had been made with two diamonds from Diana's personal collection, however Prince Harry's touching gift to his bride included a piece of jewellery that Princess Diana wore herself.
Switching into her stunning Stella McCartney gown at the reception, spectators also spotted an emerald-cut aquamarine ring on Meghan's finger - ticking the box as her 'something blue' and 'something borrowed'. The ring was worn by the late princess at a gala dinner in Australia in 1996.
2. Diana's spirit was felt in Meghan's vows.
Following from her sister-in-law, Duchess Catherine, Meghan also decided against saying that she would "obey" her future husband in her wedding vows. Instead, she promised to only love, comfort and honour him.
In 1981 at her wedding to Prince Charles, Princess Diana became the first royal bride ever to do so.
3. Multiple members of Princess Diana's family were present at the wedding.
While of course they're also blood relatives to Prince Harry, Princess Diana's siblings Lady Jane Fellowes, Earl Charles Spencer and Lady Sarah McCorquodale all attended the wedding. Prince Harry's cousin, and Princess Diana's niece, Lady Kitty Spencer was also present.
4. Lady Jane Fellowes also gave a special reading during the ceremony.
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) May 19, 2018
According to the Palace, Prince Harry asked his maternal aunt Lady Jane Fellowes to give the only reading at the ceremony, and she accepted despite being known as press-shy.
"Prince Harry and Ms. Markle both feel honoured that Lady Jane will be representing her family and helping to celebrate the memory of the late Princess on the wedding day," said the statement.
Lady Jane read from the Song of Solomon from the Old Testament of the Bible which celebrates love and is commonly read at weddings.
Watch the stunning highlights from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's truly stunning wedding:
5. The played a hymn which was also sung at her funeral.
In solemn tribute to Harry's mother, the hymn - 'Guide Me, O Thy Great Redeemer' was sung at the wedding, just as it was at the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Duchess Catherine in 2011. The significance of this hymn dates back to 1997 when it was sung at the funeral of Princess Diana.
6. Princess Diana's favourite flowers were used in multiple flower arrangements.
Princess Diana's butler, Paul Burrel, had previously predicted that white roses would somehow be incorporated in the Royal Wedding as they were "her favourite," he told Extra.
And they were.
London-based florist Philippa Craddock incorporated white roses in the decadent flower arch which greeted guests as they entered St George's Chapel. Craddock also incorporated other local and seasonal flowers like peonies, foxgloves, beech, birch and hornbeam.
7. And in her bouquet...
Princess Diana adored Forget-Me-Nots and those in Meghan's bouquet were hand-picked personally by Prince Harry from the Palace's private garden.
In a statement from Kensington Palace, "The couple specifically chose them to be included in Ms. Markle’s bouquet to honour the memory of the late Princess on this special day."
8. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle honoured Diana's generosity.
In Diana's life, the Princess was known for her humanitarian and philanthropic nature and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle helped uphold her legacy.
The Princess famously shook hands with an AIDS patient in 1987 when public stigma (incorrectly) suggested that it was possible to transmit the disease through skin-to-skin contact.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle went against asking guests for gifts and instead requested that they make a donation to their favourite charities. Among them included CHIVA (Children's HIV Association) and Crisis which focuses on ending homelessness - both issues that Diana campaigned and volunteered for.
For more royal wedding content, the Mamamia Out Loud team have huddled together for a raw, unedited, and slightly inappropriate Royal Wedding debrief. Get it in your ears.