As the date of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding ceremony draws nearer, fans of Britain's Royal Family are on the edge of their seats, probing for any updates regarding the couple's upcoming nuptials. And now, Kensington Palace has unveiled some new additions to the event's guest list, as People reports. The newly announced guests for Harry and Markle's wedding hold a particularly special meaning for the groom.
As the Kensington Palace official Twitter account shared Wednesday morning, a handful of Armed Forces units with a "special connection" to Prince Harry have officially made it onto the ceremony's stacked roster of invitees. According to the Palace's tweet, the Armed Forces units will provide "ceremonial support" during both the royal wedding.
According to an official statement by The Ministry of Defence more than 250 members of Britain's Armed Forces are slated to perform "ceremonial duties" during several portions of the wedding. In a follow-up tweet, the Palace penned another statement on behalf of the royal couple.
"Prince Harry and Ms. Markle are pleased that members of the Armed Forces will play such a special role in their wedding," the Palace's statement reads. "The military, and these units in particular, hold a great significance for Prince Harry and the couple are incredibly grateful for their support."
As followers of the Royal Family know, Prince Harry was a member of the British Army for 10 years, serving two tours of Afghanistan, working as an Apache Aircraft Commander, and — eventually — assuming the prestigious rank of Captain. Since his departure from the Army in 2015, Harry has continued to lend his support to the military. His most notable initiative on that front has been the Invictus Games (which launched in 2014), a Paralympic-style event for injured military personnel, including veterans, that takes place yearly. It was actually during last year's Invictus Games, which took place in Toronto, that Prince Harry and Markle made their public debut.
In fact, only hours before the military's involvement in the wedding was announced, the Kensington Palace account tweeted an updated about the event. On April 6, Markle and Harry will be attending the U.K. team trials for this year's Invictus Games, which will be held in Sydney, Australia.
As the Ministry's statement explains, the Armed Forces members will be incorporated into Harry and Markle's wedding ceremony through a number of means. First, the streets within the grounds of Windsor Castle will be lined with members of the Windsor Castle Guard from 1st Battalion Irish Guards, as well as Armed Forces members from five different units. And second, members of the Household Cavalry (one of the oldest regiments of the British Army, which has historically seen a close connection to the royal family) will form a "staircase party" at St. George's Chapel, where the actual wedding ceremony will take place.
Commenting on the Armed Forces' royal wedding invite, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, Chief of the Defence Staff, expressed both pride and cheerful anticipation ahead of the upcoming ceremony — especially when it comes to the Armed Forces units who've had close relationships with Prince Harry being asked to attend. He said,
"I am particularly pleased to hear that members of the Armed Forces who have a close relationship with Prince Harry will be taking part. Servicemen and women from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force will all be honoured to offer their support."
Now, if that's not a "special connection" worth celebrating, I don't know what is.