Mulroney children to act as bridesmaid, page boys at royal wedding
Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, May 16, 2018 3:20PM EDT
TORONTO -- Saturday's nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will likely have a youthful charm and a Canadian helping run things behind the scenes, says a British royalty expert, after word that all three of Ben and Jessica Mulroney's children are in the wedding party.
Four-year-old Ivy Mulroney will be a bridesmaid while seven-year-old twins Brian and John Mulroney will act as page boys, Kensington Palace announced on Wednesday.
The Mulroneys are said to be good friends with the engaged duo and live in Toronto, where Jessica is a stylist and brand strategist, and Ben is co-host of CTV's "Your Morning" and anchor at "Etalk."
Ben Mulroney is also the son of former prime minister Brian Mulroney.
"I think she's going to be very involved behind the scenes," Katie Nicholl, author of the biography "Harry: Life, Loss and Love," said of Jessica Mulroney.
"I was told that she's been over several times to see the dress, she was there for the first fitting and for the final fitting. I think she's been very much a part of helping Meghan cull everything together for the evening reception and probably has helped with the outfits for the wedding party as well."
A total of six young bridesmaids and four page boys make up the wedding party for the Windsor Castle ceremony.
The others include Princess Charlotte, who is the three-year-old daughter of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, and their four-year-old son, Prince George.
Other bridesmaids include two of Markle's goddaughters and two of Prince Harry's goddaughters. One of Harry's godsons was also selected as a page boy.
Harry's press secretary, Jason Knauf, said earlier this month that all of the bridesmaids and page boys would be children.
Having an all-children wedding party is "quite traditional," said Nicholl, noting Pippa Middleton, sister of the Duchess of Cambridge, also did the same.
"It's a little risky, because obviously these are very young children. The youngest is only two and the oldest is seven, so there's potential for chaos, of course," she said Wednesday in a phone interview from London.
"But I think it will be down to Jessica Mulroney to probably help make sure they're all kept in check. There will be more than one rehearsal at the chapel, more than one practise run so that all the children know exactly what they're doing."
The children might also provide some of the most memorable moments of the day, added Nicholl. She pointed to the famous photo of Prince William's goddaughter/flower girl Grace Van Cutsem covering her ears as he and the Duchess of Cambridge shared their first public kiss on their wedding day.
"I think they will add a charm to the big day, and one of them will probably end up upstaging the bride -- and it might well be Princess Charlotte," she said.
It's been widely reported that Jessica Mulroney became good friends with the American-born Markle when the actress moved to Toronto to shoot her seven-season run of the Bravo/USA Network series "Suits."
The Mulroney children often appear on Jessica's Instagram account, where she has 118,000 followers.
"The Mulroneys were, I think, quite instrumental in this relationship from the start," Nicholl said.
"Harry spent a lot of time with the couple and their children, and in fact, as I reveal in my book ... it was a moment at the Mulroneys when Meghan realized that Harry might be the one. He turned up armed with presents for the children and he completely won them over."
Raised in Montreal, Mulroney has also worked as a bridal consultant and fashion expert. Earlier this month Hudson's Bay Co. announced she is taking on a bigger role at the Canadian retailer, acting as spokeswoman for the new brand CORE Life.
Mulroney first joined Hudson's Bay Co. (TSXL:HBC) in 2014 to help launch the Toronto outpost of the New York-based designer boutique Kleinfeld Bridal. She's also a contributing editor at Wedding Vacations magazine from the travel company Sunwing, and regularly outlines style trends on the daytime talk show "Cityline."
"I think Meghan leans on her quite heavily for advice, both to do with style but planning as well," Nicholl said.
As of Wednesday evening, excitement was building in Windsor, England with many of Markle's "Suits" co-stars already in town, said Nicholl.
But there was still confusion over who was going to walk Markle down the aisle, after reports that her father needed a heart procedure and would miss the wedding.
"It's a great shame that this story has cast such a shadow over the wedding and I think we're all hoping it doesn't detract too much on the big day itself," Nicholl said.
"But there is the big unanswered question: 'Who's going to be giving her away?' So that's on everyone's minds as well."