Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have asked over a thousand members of the public to join their royal wedding guest list and be part of their special day. Meet some of the inspiring women and girls that have been selected to take part…
With the royal wedding just weeks away, we’ve all been on the edge of our seats as we wait to find out more details about the big day. From Meghan Markle’s wedding dress and bridesmaid choices, to the couple’s wedding gift preferences - it’s proving to be a very exciting time.
Of course, a royal wedding is always a cause for celebration. But the union between Prince Harry and Markle has us particularly gripped thanks to the pioneering nature of the couple who have already taken huge strides in modernising the royal family, and doing things their way.
Not only do their royal wedding invitations break tradition by acknowledging Markle’s “Ms” status, but their wedding cake is also said to be unconventional, swapping a typical fruit-cake for an organic lemon elderflower number instead.
We, for one, are huge fans of how Harry and Markle have broken away from some of the more archaic practices of the royal family, but their latest announcement has to be our favourite yet.
The bride and groom-to-be are known for being champions of the people (Markle has spoken out before about using her platform to support #MeToo and Time’s Up), and now, in an unusual move, they have asked 1,200 members of the public to join them on their wedding day.
A statement from Buckingham Palace explains that Harry and Markle want “their wedding day to be shaped to allow members of the public to feel part of the celebrations”. The couple have therefore asked Lord Lieutenants to select over a thousand people, young and old, who have shown examples of strong leadership, or particularly served their communities.
Among the list are some seriously inspiring women and girls, who have shown strength in the face of adversity, survived trauma only to use their experiences for good and started their own charities.
We take a look at a selection of the royal wedding guests, who may not be as well known (yet) as the celebrities they’ll be rubbing shoulders with, but are rightfully being honoured for their incredible and inspiring achievements.
Catherine Cooke and Julie-Ann Coll
Catherine Cooke, 53, and Julie-Ann Coll, 35, will both be attending from Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Cooke and Coll are a mother and daughter duo who have both been nominated for their amazing charity work.
Cooke is a co-ordinator at the Foyle’s Women’s Information Network and Julie-Ann runs a support group that helps parents cope with child bereavement.
Rosie Ginday, 34 from Birmingham, is the founder of Miss Macaroon. This social enterprise provides eight-week culinary training courses for small groups of disadvantaged individuals aged 18 to 35, and tailors them to address their personal barriers to employment.
Tessa Hince and Hayley Ash
Tessa Hince, 32, and Hayley Ash, 32, are from Banbury and Shipston-on-Stour. Together these women founded the Shipston Christmas Community Lunch, which caters for people who are lonely or on their own over Christmas, to make sure everyone has somewhere to go, and a friendly face to spend that time of year with.
Jorja Furze, 12, is an amputee from birth who has become an ambassador for the Steel Bones charity, which seeks to spread awareness and education on what amputation is, and what its implications are.
She has also set up an Anxiety Group for Year Sevens at her school, to help new students adjust to life as they jump up the education ladder.
Laurelle Henry, 14, from Lewisham, London, won votes to become the Young Mayor of Lewisham in 2017. She aims to develop more activities and safe social spaces for young people.
Pamela Anomneze, 52, is the Manager of Studio 306 Collective CIC, a social enterprise that helps those recovering from mental health issues through the creative arts. It joins together skilled arts and craft practitioners to create an exciting community enterprise, who sell a selection of hand-made products to fund the work they do.
Amelia Thompson, 12, from Dronfield Woodhouse near Derbyshire, was there to witness the terrorist attack which happened during an Ariana Grande gig at Manchester Arena in May 2017.
Thompson was traumatised by the experience and left with damaged vocal chords from screaming, but thankfully she was otherwise unhurt. Since the attack, Thompson has helped to fundraise for victims and their families, and has invited the grandmother of a teenager who died to accompany her to the wedding.
Amy Wright, 26, is Chair of Board of Directors for the Usual Place café in Dumfries, which provides employment training and support for young people aged 16-25 with special needs.
Zoe Arundell, 20, has been volunteering with Valley Kids since the age of 13, and attended as a young person herself from age six. She is already acquainted with the bride and groom-to-be, having met Harry and Markle on their recent visit to Cardiff.
Images: Twitter / Getty