Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Millions of people are expected to tune in on Saturday to watch the wedding of the UK's Prince Harry to his American bride, Meghan Markle.
When the couple exchange their vows, around 600 guests will be seated in St. George's Chapel. But - unlike the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011 - don't expect any official Israeli or Jewish representation.
When Prince William and Kate Middleton wed, in the most recent British royal wedding, then-Israeli Ambassador to the UK Ron Prosor and then-British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks were in attendance. This weekend, neither current Ambassador Mark Regev nor current Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis will witness the royal occasion.
The reason is simple: the wedding of Prince Harry and Markle is a much smaller, less official affair. In fact, no politicians are expected to be in attendance, including British Prime Minister Theresa May.
Mirvis, of course, would not have attended an event on Shabbat, and on Shavuot eve at that. A spokesman for the chief rabbi said that fact "was shared with the Royal Household a long time before invitations were issued but my guess is that he would not have been invited anyway." The spokesman said that since Prince Harry is not in the direct royal line of succession, the "wedding is not a State occasion."
A spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in London also confirmed that Regev had not been invited since it was a private affair.
But could there be an Israeli presence after all? Though details of Markle's dress are being heavily guarded until she emerges on Saturday, one designer's name has been circulating: Inbal Dror. After preliminary sketches by the Tel Aviv-based Dror were leaked last year, the designer confirmed that she was approached to submit a design. But there are many other names in the mix as likely designers of Markle's dress, and nobody is entirely sure which direction she chose.
And while speculation over the guest list is rampant, one person who is almost certain to be in attendance is Jewish American designer Misha Nonoo. Nonoo, a longtime friend of both the royal family and Markle, is reportedly the woman who introduced the happy couple. And, as her Instagram indicates, she touched down in the UK earlier this week.
Another close friend of Markle's, Jessica Mulroney - of the Jewish Montreal Brownstein family - is also certain to be in attendance. Kensington Palace announced on Wednesday that Mulroney's children - Brian, John and Isabel - will be page boys and a bridesmaid at the nuptials.
While there may not be any Israelis in attendance at the wedding, Israeli company SodaStream is getting in the royal wedding mood.
The company auctioned off a set of limited edition bottles - dressed up in royal-inspired hats - to benefit the plastic-free charity Surfers Against Sewage. The nonprofit was named as one of the seven charities the royal couple chose to receive donations in lieu of gifts. The bottles' hats, made via 3D printing, are 100% recyclable, and were each inspired by a look once worn by a royal family member.