BY BILLY SUTER
GOOD news for fans of British royalty – DStv’s ITV Choice (channel 123) has announced it will broadcast live, comprehensive coverage of the wedding of Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle on Saturday, May 19, from a specially constructed studio on The Long Walk in Windsor.
The coverage will start at 10.25am and run through to 5pm, South African time, the spokesman says, adding that the event will be hosted by Julie Etchingham and Phillip Schofield. They will be joined by a range of guests including those who know Prince Harry and Meghan, as well as friends of the royal family.
“Also joining Etchingham and Schofield for live coverage of the day will be Mary Nightingale, who will be positioned at Windsor Castle, spotting and interviewing guests as they arrive, accompanied by a line-up of fashion experts and royal commentators.
“Rageh Omaar will exclusively join Sentebale, the charity co-founded by Prince Harry, for traditional wedding day celebrations in Lesotho. He will be live from the Mamohato Children’s Centre, where he will be joined by beneficiaries and staff… many of whom have met and been supported by Prince Harry during his numerous visits to the country.”
James Mates will lead live commentary of the service from inside St George’s Chapel, the spokesman adds.
ITV News Royal Editor, Chris Ship, will provide his expertise throughout the day, while Nina Hossain, Charlotte Hawkins and Charlene White will be based at key positions in Windsor and with crowds celebrating along the procession route.
Says Etchingham: “I’m delighted to be working on the royal wedding – and teaming up again with Philip, just as we did in 2011 and for the Diamond Jubilee. It’ll be a day of big celebrations, not only in Windsor but around the country. It will be huge fun capturing the spirit of a great British occasion.”
Adds Schofield: “So happy to be back with Julie, my Royal Wedding partner (we don’t get to work together very often) and the brilliant team at ITV News. Put your hat on, we’re going to have a party!”
ITV has also reported that the channel plans another royal treat at 8pm on Friday, May 4. It’s A Very Royal Wedding, an exclusive documentary celebrating the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s marriage in November 1947.
Set against the backdrop of a battered, post-war Britain, when resources were scarce and rationing was common, the country pitched in to pull off an extravagant occasion against the odds.
This was “the people’s wedding” and presenter Alexander Armstrong meets the ordinary people who made this such a special day, including one of the seamstresses responsible for the spectacular wedding dress.
With an army of experts, Armstrong recreates the glamorous details – Queen Elizabeth’s exquisite, three-carat diamond engagement ring, her beautiful wedding bouquet and her showstopping, 3m high, 230kg wedding cake.
A Very Royal Wedding includes contributions from stars Joan Collins and Sheila Hancock, sharing their memories of the wedding, as well as revealing insights from those who were part of the big day, such as page boy Prince Michael of Kent.
The special will feature colour archival footage, some never seen before, and Queen Elizabeth’s own private home movies.
Also one to look out for on ITV Choice is Britain’s first panel show about the royal family, A Right Royal Quiz, which starts on DStv’s channel 123 at 8pm on Thursday, May 3.
The show is described as a celebratory and affectionate look at the royals and the world’s obsession with them.
In the show, presented by Fern Britton, two toyal-loving celebrity teams are pitted against each other to discover what they know about this much-loved British institution. Across a series of fun and entertaining rounds, the panelists are tested on topics such as Prince Philip’s pet names for the Queen, which game the Windsors are banned from playing at home, and who in the toyal family can breakdance.
Helping the teams throughout the quiz is royal expert Jennie Bond – plus self-confessed super fans, and some special royal-inspired surprises that pop up throughout the show.
The following specials are also scheduled for ITV Choice in May to celebrate the big royal wedding:
Meghan: The First 100 Days
(9pm on Thursday, May 10)
On November 27, 2017, Prince Harry announced his engagement to US actress Meghan Markle and the world was introduced to a new superstar.
Not since Princess Diana, has a public figure gripped the public’s imagination so completely. Markle is besieged by fans wherever she goes. Each outfit she wears sells out within minutes. She makes the tabloid front pages every day. She is the most ‘searched-for’ celebrity name on the internet.
Meghan: The First 100 Days charts her movements and appearances since the engagement whilst revealing the impact she’s had on the British people.
Harry & Meghan: In Their Own Words
(8pm on Friday, May 11)
Never in the history of royal weddings have the bride and groom put so much of their lives on the record. Childhoods, family breakdowns, emotional traumas, personal struggles, pressures of fame, the search for meaning, and a longing for love…. whatever Harry and Meghan have experienced, they’ve documented it all in interviews, letters, speeches and social media posts.
This programme looks through these personal accounts, picking out the quotes that illuminate the key moments and stages in their lives to build a picture of two people who were born worlds apart, but who have since encountered – and overcome – similar challenges.
These common experiences led to a shared outlook on life and a romance that was bound to blossom
Countdown to the Royal Wedding
(8pm on Thursday, May 17)
Royal weddings used to be private, family occasions that took place completely outside of the public eye. But ever since Queen Victoria, the royal family has increasingly opened its doors to the public to share in these special days.
The royal weddings from then on have marked crucial moments for Britain, when the world’s perceptions of the monarchy and of the country are formed.
This programme reveals the stories behind the meticulous planning of some of the biggest events of the last century. Told by the people who have been at the heart of preparing for these momentous occasions, the stories invite us behind the scenes and give us insights into what we can look forward to from Prince Harry and Meghan’s big day.
Harry and Meghan: A Very Modern Romance
(8pm on Friday, May 18)
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are to marry. With the same interests, they seem ideally suited. They have both confronted difficult upbringings and triumphed. Now they triumph together.
This one-hour special explores the social background that makes this adventurous marriage seem thoroughly in keeping with the modern British royal family.
It explores the remarkable lives of actress Meghan, a powerful woman’s rights campaigner, and Prince Harry, who has broken out of the royal straightjacket without losing his royal dignity.
The Royal Wives of Windsor
(8pm on Thursday, May 24, and 8pm on Friday, May 25)
This two-part documentary examines what it’s like to be, and what it takes to succeed, as a royal wife based on the lived experience of 100 years of Windsor women.
The focus will be on the key wives of Windsor – the Queen Mother, Wallis Simpson, the Queen, Princess Margaret, Princess Anne, Diana, Fergie, Sophie, Camilla, Kate and, now, Meghan.
Viewers will learn how royal-born women were often constrained in matters of the heart and how the commoners flourished and floundered under innumerable pressures.