With an audience of a casual 29 million tuning in across the world, you’d assume that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had every tiny detail fine-tuned for their royal wedding back in May. Everything from the Duchess’s stunning bridal gown, all the way through to the intricate invitations, and even the thank-you cards were absolutely perfected. But, despite months of hard work and endless attention to detail, there was still one fairly major risk that Harry and Meghan ended up taking for their big day.
It turns out that the royal couple had actually never heard the final rendition of "Stand By Me," that The Kingdom Choir performed before they exchanged their vows. So, phew, it’s a good job that it was nothing less than flawless.
The choir, who performed to guests inside St George’s Chapel during the royal wedding, changed their version of the song 11 times before settling on the final arrangement. But some changes were so last-minute that the Duke and Duchess had to put their faith and trust in the vocalists, without actually hearing a rehearsal of the completed song before the ceremony.
Speaking to Hello! about the lengthy process of perfecting their performance, Karen Gibson of The Kingdom Choir said: "We were asked to sing "Stand by Me", so we put down an arrangement that was pure gospel, it was a very full-on sound, which we are used to singing… But we got word back that they wanted something a little less, so we did a second version which had an Etta James arrangement, but again we had word back that it wasn’t right.”
Later on in the process, the choir were invited to meet with Meghan and Harry in person to discuss the sound they were envisioning—an experience which Karen described as “quire surreal.” She explained: "We went to Kensington Palace and had tea and biscuits and a chat. You could see how very much in love they were just from the way they look at each other and listen to what each other says. Then we went into a few new arrangements and heard what they had to say.”
Karen recalled: "The day of the wedding, I knew they were going to hear the 12th version, which was our most stripped back yet. They hadn’t had time to hear it before because the 11th version needed tweaking so this was going to be it. None of us were nervous on the day about performing but I was nervous as to whether this would be exactly what they wanted. It felt incredible on the day.”
Having thankfully given the perfect performance, The Kingdom Choir are now firm favorites for Harry and Meghan, and are even set to close the Duke’s own Invictus Games, taking place next month in Sydney.