Royal wedding guests moved to tears by Prince Charles speech about his 'darling old Harry'

Victoria Ward
Prince Charles pictured outside St George's Chapel with Doria Ragland - Meghan Markle's mother - Getty Images Europe

The Prince of Wales described how emotional he felt watching his youngest son, whom he still remembers so clearly as a baby, marrying the love of his life.

As he addressed 600 guests gathered at the reception St George’s Hall, there was barely a dry eye as he spoke so warmly about his "darling old Harry" and the man he had grown into.

The Prince described how moving it was, at this point in his life, to watch his little boy move on. A little boy, whom he had winded so often as a baby and whom, he joked, might still have a bit of wind today.

Guests described how warmly he welcomed Meghan Markle and her mother, Doria Ragland, to Windsor and into his family. Frequently, throughout the course of the reception, he was spotted with his arm around Mrs Ragland.

Prince Harry, looking like "the cat that got the cream,” then gave a heartfelt, "off the cuff" speech in which he made it clear he was the happiest man in the world. 

He too, was effusive about how beautiful his new wife looked, and prompted laughs as he reminded the guests where they were and told them not to be too raucous and disturb the neighbours when they left the castle.

He raised hearty guffaws as he promised that the Americans would not steal the swords.

Veronica German, who runs the charity Dolen Cymru Wales Lesotho Link, said: "He couldn't get very far as every time he said 'my wife' everyone cheered and he had to go back to the beginning. It was very funny." 

As he finished his speech, Prince Harry jokingly asked whether anyone present could play the piano before introducing Sir Elton John, who belted out hits including Tiny Dancer, which he dedicated to Ms Markle, Your Song and Circle of Life.

Johnny Hornby, chairman of Prince Harry's Sentebale charity, said: “It was a really warm atmosphere, the speeches were funny and touching.

“Prince Charles was clearly really moved for this moment, for Harry.

“The laughs turned it into a bit of a party atmosphere. Then Elton John started playing, it was great fun. There was a lot of tradition but also a lot of modernity.”

Peter Fernhead, co-founder of African Parks, said the reception was “remarkable” and topped an incredible day.

“We all gathered while they were having their pictures done,” he said. “When Harry and Meghan came in they stood on the podium and Prince William introduced them.

“Prince Charles made a really gracious speech, it was really calming and amazingly endearing. He’s got a wonderfully dry sense of humour.

“Prince Harry thanked everyone for coming, particularly those who had travelled so far. He was completely charming about Meghan, they are so clearly in love. We all had a tear in our eye."

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Guests then mingled as they tucked into bite sized slices of a magnificent lemon and elderflower sponge cake.

Designed by London-based American baker Claire Ptak, it contained elderflower syrup made at the Queen’s residence in Sandringham using the estate’s own elderflower trees.

The three tiers, which were transported individually from Buckingham Palace to Windsor Castle, were decorated with Swiss meringue buttercream and 150 fresh flowers including peonies and roses, were arranged in a non-traditional way.

The wedding cake features elderflower syrup made at The Queens residence in Sandringham Credit: AFP

Guests were also served a selection of seasonal canapés including Scottish langoustines wrapped in smoked salmon with citrus crème fraiche, grilled asparagus wrapped in Cumbrian ham, heritage tomato and basil tartare with balsamic pearls and croquettes of confit windsor lamb.

The selection of bowl food included free range chicken with morel mushrooms and young leeks, pea and mint risotto with pea shoots, truffle oil and parmesan crisps and ten hour slow roasted Windsor pork belly with apple compote and crackling.

A kiss as they leave St George's Chapel as husband and wife Credit: PA

For those with a sweet tooth, there were champagne and pistachio macaroons, orange crème brûlée tartlets and miniature rhubarb crumble tartlets.

The food was washed down with Pol Roger Brut Réserve Non Vintage Champagne, and a selection of wines. 

Ms Markle was due to make a speech at the evening reception at Frogmore House.

Sir Elton John's performance

Sir Elton John has performed at the lunchtime reception for guests celebrating the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Prince Harry asked Sir Elton to perform at the reception which was hosted by Her Majesty The Queen at St George's Hall, Windsor Castle.

One guest told The Telegraph the pop icon sang Circle of Life - made famous by the 1994 Disney film The Lion King - and Tiny Dancer.

Sir Elton performed for the newly married couple in recognition of the close connection he has with Prince Harry and his family.

The music legend's relationship to the monarchy stretches back decades, and he famously re-recorded Candle in the Wind in tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales. 

Sir Elton John waves as he leaves St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle  Credit: Chris Jackson/PA

Kensington Palace said: "Sir Elton John has performed at the lunchtime reception for guests celebrating the wedding of Prince Harry and Ms Meghan Markle.

"Prince Harry asked Sir Elton to perform at the reception which was hosted by Her Majesty The Queen at St George's Hall, Windsor Castle.

"Sir Elton performed for the newly married couple in recognition of the close connection he has with Prince Harry and his family."

Sir Elton sang at the funeral service for Harry's mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.

A Candle in the Wind was originally recorded by Elton John as a tribute to Marilyn Monroe and was released on his 1974 Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album. 

But he re-recorded the song in 1997 following the death of his close friend Princess Diana and Sir Elton's one and only live performance of the song was at her funeral in September of that year. 

It was released as a single a week later and went on to sell around 33 million copies worldwide - making it the second bestselling record of all time behind Bing Crosby's White Christmas. 

All proceeds from the single sales were donated to the Diana, Princess of Wales memorial fund. 

The menu

Her Majesty The Queen gave a Lunchtime Reception at St George's Hall in Windsor Castle for around 600 guests drawn from the Wedding Service congregation.

Guests were served a selection of canapés, including:

  • Scottish Langoustines wrapped in Smoked Salmon with Citrus Crème Fraiche
  • Grilled English Asparagus wrapped in Cumbrian Ham
  • Garden Pea Panna Cotta with Quail Eggs and Lemon Verbena
  • Heritage Tomato and Basil Tartare with Balsamic Pearls
  • Poached Free Range Chicken bound in a Lightly Spiced Yoghurt with Roasted Apricot
  • Croquette of Confit Windsor Lamb, Roasted Vegetables and Shallot Jam
  • Warm Asparagus Spears with Mozzarella and Sun-Blush Tomatoes

Guests were also served a selection of bowl food, including:

  • Fricassee of Free Range Chicken with Morel Mushrooms and Young Leeks
  • Pea and Mint Risotto with Pea Shoots, Truffle Oil and Parmesan Crisps
  • Ten Hour Slow Roasted Windsor Pork Belly with Apple Compote and Crackling

Sweet canapés were also served, including:

  • Champagne and Pistachio Macaroons
  • Orange Crème Brûlée Tartlets
  • Miniature Rhubarb Crumble Tartlets

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding reception guests were served classic dishes made from seasonal British produce - much from the Queen's own estates.

The sweet and savoury canapes were made to be consumed in two bites, while the bowl dishes could be eaten standing up.

Harry and his bride-to-be have tasted and selected their wedding reception menu, which were created by staff from the royal kitchens at Windsor Castle over the previous days.

Royal chef Mark Flanagan at the royal kitchen at Windsor Castle Credit: David Parker/Daily Mail/PA Wire

Royal chef Mark Flanagan led the team who put the finishing touches to the canapes and bowl dishes being served during the afternoon event, hosted by the Queen in the castle's St George's Hall.

Mr Flanagan said beforehand: "The day of the wedding has fallen very kindly for us. All the British vegetables are just coming into season... and that's been a point of focus for us.

"We know the couple wanted us to make sure we used all of the local seasonal produce as much as possible throughout their menu, and this recent good weather is really helping us to achieve that.

"(For) all their decisions, we purely made suggestions and the couple. They've tasted everything, they've been involved in every detail."

The head chef would not discuss the dishes in detail but produce like asparagus, peas and tomatoes are in season - providing a wealth of options for the culinary expert who has worked for some of the world's best chefs, like Michel and Albert Roux and Raymond Blanc.

In a bid to keep as many ingredients as possible British and local, Mr Flanagan's team sourced them from the Home Counties and lands associated with the Queen like Windsor. He said: "We are using produce off Her Majesty's estates and that features very much."

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He added: "We've really just been trying to let the ingredients stand proud within the dishes. There's no experimentation on Saturday whatsoever, tried and tested and predominantly classics."

Preparations for the reception began earlier in the week leading up to the reception and, after trials and tests, all the 30 kitchen staff working on Saturday knew in great detail the job ahead of them.

Over the past week they had been washing and peeling vegetables, and getting other produce ready so that there would be the minimum amount of cooking and maximum amount of presentation time on the big day.

The wedding dinner was staged at Frogmore House by the Prince of Wales, with different caterers responsible for the private event for 200 guests.

The royal chef said he and his team started preparing for the wedding before the couple requested their services.

Royal Palaces head chef Mark Flanagan and Pastry chef Selwyn Stoby Credit: David Parker - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Mr Flanagan said: "Once the wedding announcement was made, we started to work on some ideas, about what we would do if we were asked to be involved, so we were able to get into the trial situation early in March."

Harry and Meghan have visited Windsor Castle to sample the menu suggestions in the castle's Great Kitchen.

It dates from the reign of the 14th century monarch Edward III and is believed to be the oldest working kitchen in the country, having served more than 30 monarchs, including the Queen.

Mr Flanagan said: "This is the great kitchen of Windsor Castle, an absolute pleasure to work in surrounded by the most amazing battery of copper (pots)."

He added that working to prepare dishes for the royal nuptials created a sense of pride for himself and his staff: "All weddings are great celebrations and it is an honour for all of our team to have some small part to play in that celebration."

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The receptions at St George's Hall and Frogmore House

While Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were touring Windsor, guests from the congregation waited for the happy couple in St George's Hall to celebrate the first of the day's two receptions. This was hosted by the Queen, took place during the afternoon and was attended by all guests who were invited to the service.

Invitations were posted to 600 lucky guests; the guest list was restricted to those who have a direct relationship with the couple, both because St George’s Chapel is relatively small and because the prince is not in the direct line of succession.

Some members of the public received an invitation to wait in the grounds outside the chapel to watch the bride and groom and their wedding guests arrive and leave.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in the grounds of Frogmore House Credit:  REUTERS

From 7pm, a select 200 close friends attended an after party hosted by the Prince of Wales at Frogmore House, Windsor. Half a mile away from Windsor Castle, the 17th century Grade I country house is owned by the Crown Estate and is part of the Frogmore Estate on the ground of the Home Park.

Prince Harry and Ms Markle's engagement photos were taken in the grounds of Frogmore House. The images were taken by photographer Alexi Lubomirski, who has also been chosen to take the photographs on the wedding day. 

Lubomirski, the British-born son of Peruvian-English mother and a Polish-French father, also happens to be a Prince himself: his full title is His Serene Highness Prince Alexi Lubomirski.

Members of the Royal family, Ms Markle's family and intimate friends of both the newlyweds were at the evening reception – although Princess Charlotte and Prince George had no doubt  been put to bed after their big day in the limelight.

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The cake

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's wedding cake was split into three pieces and each placed upon a golden throne.

The three tiers, which were transported individually from Buckingham Palace to Windsor Castle, were decorated with Swiss meringue buttercream and 150 fresh flowers including peonies and roses, were arranged in a non-traditional way.

Claire Ptak, who made the culinary centrepiece for the couple's big day, had said days before the wedding that the layered lemon and elderflower cake - in three parts of varying sizes - would be presented in a non-traditional way.

She said: "You'll have to wait and see on the day. It's an installation of the way that we're putting it out. It's the last thing that we'll reveal. It's a non-traditional layout," Ms Ptak said earlier this week. "It's a slight shift from tradition."

The chef, who owns the small, trendy Violet Bakery in east London, had been working with her team of six bakers full time for five days in the large kitchens of Buckingham Palace.

She described the flavour of the cake as being a balance of sweet and tart, combined with "ethereal" elderflower.

Claire Ptak puts the finishing touches to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's cake Credit:  Hannah McKay

The cake, which was decorated on the outside with a white, elderflower swiss meringue buttercream, was made of layered lemon sponge, drizzled with an elderflower syrup to a recipe specially created for the couple.

The layers were sandwiched with buttercream and lemon curd.

Some 200 Amalfi lemons were used in the recipe, as well as 10 bottles of Sandringham Elderflower Cordial made using elderflower from the Queen's Sandringham estate, 20kgs of butter, 20 kgs of flour, 20kgs of sugar and 500 organic eggs from Suffolk.

Ms Ptak said: "It's a lemon sponge – a special sponge that I developed just for the couple, and we drizzle the layers with elderflower cordial from the Sandringham estate so it's really lovely and as local as you can get.

"We have a lemon curd made from Amalfi lemons which to me have the most delicious flavour, and then we've got elderflower swiss meringue buttercream."

Claire Ptak puts finishing touches on the cake Credit: Hannah McKay

She added: "The buttercream is sweet and the lemon curd is very tart so you get a very lovely thing happening when you take a bite, which is to get all of these flavours and sensations perfectly balanced."

Ms Ptak, who is American like Ms Markle, said: "The elderflower is so quintessentially British to me as a Californian. It's a kind of an ethereal, floral flavour which I think is very special, especially for a wedding."

Slices of the cake were served to the 600 guests at the lunchtime reception in St George's Hall after the ceremony.

Three types of Meghan's favourite flowers, peonies - Madame Claude, Bowl of Cream, and the aptly titled Duchess - in shades of white and cream decorated the cakes, along with four different white and cream roses - Patience, Purity, Jeanne Moreau and Princess Miyuki.

The flowers were removed before guests tucked in to the cake, but the slices were served with edible rose petals.

Ms Ptak added:"There's a few logistics of serving so many people at the same time. But it's been a great process."

Claire Ptak carries part of the cake out of the oven Credit: REUTERS/Hannah McKay/Pool 

She said Harry and Meghan loved the lemon and elderflower cake after trying a number of different samples.

"They loved it. They tried quite a collection. What they said to me is that they really loved the idea of the seasonality and the freshness."

Ms Ptak did not make a back-up cake in case of a disaster, saying: "It's cake. It can't go that wrong. We have enough cake and we don't want to be wasteful. Anything that is left over, we were going to donate to charity."

The chef had to call in some of her former workers to have enough staff to work on the cake and keep her bakery open.

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