London: Forget the Winter Olympics, the Champion's League or the Super Bowl. The real competition right now is who's going to be invited to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding.
Everyone who is anyone in Britain is angling for an embossed royal ticket.
British heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua, who is seeking to add two more world championships to the three he already owns, says he would be happy to interrupt his high-level training for a trip to Windsor Castle on 19 May. The ebullient Joshua has not been shy, tweeting a picture of himself and Harry with the question "Need a best man?"
Back to work this morning! Congrats on everything this year & no pressure on the R4 guest edit! P.s. Need a best man? ♂ pic.twitter.com/SA6VjEQqgC
— Anthony Joshua (@anthonyfjoshua) December 27, 2017
"I'm single," the 28-year-old told the BBC, expressing an interest in seeing if the elegant, raven-haired Markle's "got any sisters."
(For the record Anthony, she has a half sister, 53-year-old Samantha Grant, a divorced mother of three who has called Markle "a social climber.")
The actual guest list is a closely guarded secret and details about it may not be released until the event is underway. But that hasn't stopped speculation about who's in or who's out from becoming a national parlor game, and subject of wagers in Britain's legal betting shops.
Any bride and groom run into parental interference in their guest list, whether it's adding random cousins or forgotten neighbours. Yet Harry and Markle are enduring this phenomenon at a cosmic level due to the royal expectations that come along with being a grandson of Queen Elizabeth II.
At least Harry and Markle won't face the 3,500 guests that his parents, Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, welcomed to their 1981 "wedding of the century" in St. Paul's Cathedral in London. They also avoided the warehouse-sized Westminster Abbey, where Harry's brother Prince William and Kate Middleton packed in 1,900 guests for a 2011 royal wedding extravaganza televised around the world.
Their wedding venue, St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, holds a mere 800 guests. Even so, it's going to be tough to cut that list.
The British royals' close relatives alone number over 50 and this time Princess Eugenie gets to bring a plus-one, fiance Jack Brooksbank. Harry also won't forget non-royals like Kate's sister, Pippa Middleton, her husband James Mathews, and brother James Middleton.
At William's wedding, 45 foreign royals from 20 countries were invited from nations as diverse as Spain, Norway, Malaysia, Thailand and Saudi Arabia. William also invited governor generals from Commonwealth countries (23 seats); foreign dignitaries (27); UK politicians (42); religious figures (31); senior military officers (14) and 80 workers from charities that he backs. Oh and don't forget the ambassadors from countries with ties to Britain.
William barely could squeeze in A-listers like David Beckham and TV adventure host Ben Fogle who may return for Harry's nuptials.
Britain's governing elite Prime Minister Theresa May, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond would normally expect a Windsor invite.
But with turmoil over Brexit roiling the ruling Conservative Party, perhaps the bride and groom should just wait until a week before the wedding, then invite whoever is still left standing.
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Updated Date: Feb 12, 2018 08:30:33 IST