How to watch Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal wedding on TV

Gino Spocchia
St George's Chapel, Windsor - AFP

The dress fittings are almost done, the cake is being iced, and invitations have been dispatched to those fortunate enough to have been asked to the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. For everyone else, cushions must be plumped and snacks must be sourced.

As with previous royal weddings and milestone celebrations, you can expect hours of television coverage streamed live from the lawns of Windsor Castle and the heights of St George's Chapel nave. 

This wedding will go beyond the heights of Suits, in which Ms Markle stars, or The Crown. There will be as much tradition and pomp as any drama or history series ever needed. 

Expect cheering crowds in any weather packing the pavements of Windsor and thousands celebrating in their local communities at street parties across the nation. 

A view of St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will have their wedding service Credit: WPA Pool / Dominic Lipinski / Getty

To make sure you catch every second on TV - including the dizzying spectacle of the FA Cup Final which falls on the same day - read on.  

When is the wedding, again?

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are set to be married on Saturday, 19 May. Clear your diary.

The wedding service will begin at 12:00pm sharp at St George’s Chapel in Windsor, but expect several hours of TV coverage first as the excitement and anticipation builds.

The service, conducted by the Dean of Windsor, will end around an hour later when Prince Harry and Ms Markle have taken their vows - officiated by The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

Will the wedding be on television?

Yes. The wedding and procession will be televised live on networks around the world. A single pool camera will capture the nuptials so many channels will be able to broadcast it. 

In the UK, the BBC, Sky News and ITV will cover the day with big-name presenters.

The BBC broadcast will be anchored by Huw Edwards, Kirsty Young and Dermot O'Leary from the grounds of Windsor Castle. The cameras will roll from Saturday morning, as Young and O'Leary cover the build-up from the castle's moat, whilst newsreader Edwards presents from the equally spectacular roof of the Windsor Guard Room.

Profile | Julie Etchingham

They will be supported by a team of roaming presenters including The One Show's Alex Jones and former Strictly Come Dancing champion Ore Oduba, who will capture the excitement on the ground. 

The BBC has announced that a television licence will not be needed to watch the wedding, allowing communities to screen the event at street parties and gatherings.  

ITV's output will be presented by Phillip Schofield and Julie Etchingham, using a purpose-built studio in Windsor, and Sky News will be in Windsor as well, making sure no angle is missed.

Live coverage of the ceremony will be broadcast on big screens around the UK, including in Belfast, Salisbury, Leeds, Swansea, Winchester and Portsmouth.

It's highly unlikely that we'll catch a glimpse of the two wedding receptions. They are private events for guests only. 

Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, travel to Buckingham Palace, after their wedding ceremony at Westminster Abbey in London, 2011 Credit: POOL/REUTERS

How to watch the Royal wedding on TV from the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand

As Harry and Meghan will enter the chapel at 12:00 B.S.T, North American viewers will have an early start if they want to catch the action live.   

The first footage will be available from CBS' This Morning, which airs at 4:00 E.S.T (1:00 PT). NBC takes its entire Today show to Windsor for their coverage beginning at 4:30 E.S.T (1:30 PT), and ABC News and Good Morning America will begin at 5:00 E.S.T (2.00 PT).

Meanwhile, BBC America will broadcast a live simulcast of the UK's BBC One from 4:15 E.S.T (1:15 PT), and HBO begins their live coverage at the more accommodating time of 7:15 E.S.T (4:30 PT). 

All of these American broadcasters are set to provide online and mobile coverage of the big day,  but ensure you are a paid subscriber to watch BBC America or HBO.

Another alternative is to find one of almost 200 cinema screenings across the US for a 10am (local time) screening of ITV's broadcast, only a few hours after the events unfold in Windsor. 

Canadian's can turn to national broadcaster CBC from 4:00 E.S.T (1:00 PT) for live coverage, or opt to follow their live CBC News blog with updates from the goings-on at Windsor. Whist CBC's World Report radio programme will air from 6:00 E.S.T (3:00 PT) for a special royal wedding breakfast edition.

On the opposite side of the globe, New Zealanders can tune-in from 22:30 for TVNZ's simulcast of BBC One for the ceremony set to begin at 23:00 Wellington-time. The national broadcaster will also show a highlights package the next day, for anyone wanting an early night.     

Australian's have a choice of ABC, Seven, SBS, and Nine for Aussie-led coverage from Windsor, or a BBC One simulcast via Foxtel, all kicking-off between 19:00 and 19:30 AEST.

How to watch from anywhere via livestream

The wedding at Windsor will be streamed straight to online streaming services, news sites, and mobile apps.

Head to BBC iPlayer or ITV Hub for a live online broadcast in the UK (with a TV licence), or CBSN Live and ABC News in the US.    

Royal fans can also follow the coverage live at Bookmark this page and come back on Saturday, May 19th to follow the action from 10am BST.

What about the FA Cup final?

The FA Cup finalfalls on the same day as the royal wedding. The game between Chelsea and Manchester United will kick-off at 17:15BST on BBC One, so football-loving royalists can have their cake and eat it. 

However the BBC's one-off TV licence dispensation does not apply to the FA Cup final, so find a screen somewhere near to your royal wedding celebrations.    

Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, usually attends the final and presents the cup to the winning captain in his role as Football Association president. However, he will miss the event this year to fulfil his role as Prince Harry's best man.

People are being encouraged to make the most of the Royal wedding and FA Cup celebrations. Here is a street party in Harberton Road, London, for the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton on 29 Apr 2011 Credit:  Tony Kyriacou / Rex Features

How many people will tune in?

You can expect the wedding to attract a large audience in the UK and abroad. About 27 million Brits and 23 million Americans watched the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011.

The BBC's coverage of William and Kate's wedding attracted 67.2 per cent of the television audience share that day, attracting 18.7 million viewers to BBC One during the ceremony. More than  a million people used BBC iPlayer to watch the coverage.

In 2011, the BBC had faced intense criticism for choosing Huw Edwards to anchor the presenting team rather than more seasoned royal broadcasters such as David Dimbleby. They were also criticised for using Fearne Cotton to provide coverage from outside Buckingham Palace.

Royal wedding | Read more

The warm-up

As excitement builds before the wedding day, a host of broadcasters will deploy in-depth documentaries and extended Harry and Meghan coverage.

ITV have already aired a one-off feature entitled Invitation to a Royal Wedding. It looks-back at British royal weddings from the past and is produced by the team responsible for the Princess Diana documentary Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy.

The BBC unleashes its programming on the Friday night, with Edwards, Young and O'Leary featuring in The Royal Wedding: They're Getting Married In The Morning. 

A large handful of major American broadcasters have announced plans for royal wedding inspired programmes to be shown in the coming weeks.