5 Gorgeous Royal Wedding Spots You Can Visit Right Now
All royal roads might lead to Windsor right now with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle celebrating their marriage there on May 19, but you don't have to join the crowds to get your royal wedding fix. There are plenty of pretty places in England that have hosted the marriages of kings, queens, princes, and princesses that won't be standing room only in the coming weeks. If you've got royal wedding fever, then these are five gorgeous places where you can get a taste of history without wading through the crowds at Windsor.
The Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight is a hidden gem of royal wedding history. It's home to Osborne House, the romantic bolthole of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. This sunny spot was the setting for the wedding of their second daughter, Princess Alice, who was one of Prince Philip's great grannies. Alice's little sister, Princess Beatrice, wed at the nearby Church of St. Mildred at Whippingham, and was clearly a beautiful bride as her great, great grandson is the endlessly handsome King Felipe VI of Spain.
You can visit both places, and a trip to Osborne will also offer the chance to see the famous myrtle trees whose leaves have been used for royal bridal bouquets for decades.
York, with its ancient, Harry Potter-esque streets, has been the setting for two really magical royal weddings. Edward, Duke of Kent married Katharine Worsley at York Minster in 1961 in a romantic ceremony attended by the groom's cousin, Queen Elizabeth. Over 600 years earlier, a right royal love match had been sealed at the same church when King Edward III wed Philippa of Hainault, who became queen herself the moment she said "I do" in 1328.
York Minster is open year-round for royal wedding hunters to visit.
Winchester Cathedral in Hampshire has a long royal history peppered with kingly coronations and regal burials. It has also been the setting for two very royal weddings. Prince Harry's ancestor, King Henry IV of England, married his second wife, Joanna of Navarre, here in 1403 at the start of a seriously loved-up union. Less happy was the marriage between Mary I, the first woman to rule England as queen in her own right, and King Philip II of Spain. Their wedding, in 1554, led to four years of misery, but don't let that put you off.
As well as the cathedral, you can visit the Great Hall, which has hosted royal guests including Henry VIII and which contains a replica of King Arthur's Round Table.
One of the most poignant and tragic royal love stories of all had its beginnings in Canterbury. In 1625, King Charles I wed Henrietta Maria of France here, the start of a marriage that would see the new queen stay loyal to her husband throughout a civil war that led to his execution.
You can see St. Augustine's Abbey, linked to this romantic royal couple, as well as visit the cathedral, the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The present incumbent, Justin Welby, will be officiating at Harry and Meghan's royal wedding.
Think Hampton Court, think Henry VIII, and think weddings. The six-times married monarch held his final wedding at Hampton Court, just outside London, where he said "I do" to Katherine Parr in 1543. Henry had owned Hampton Court for decades by then, meaning most of his wives at one point were wooed by their king within its walls.
It's now open year-round for a taste of Tudor romance.