Happily ever afters aren’t exclusive to storybooks. The proof: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
“This is a beautiful love story of two gorgeous people who are just starting their journey,” the Today show’s Hoda Kotb tells Us Weekly. “There are so few things that feel like a fairy tale that there’s something magical about their wedding. The whole world will be watching.”
Some more closely than others. For the royal vows May 19, Kotb and coanchor Savannah Guthrie will report live from Windsor Castle while Kathie Lee Gifford and Megyn Kelly will join the broadcast from a local London pub. Raves Kelly, “This is a delightful distraction from the nastiness that dominates our news every day. It’s about love, second chances, optimism and escapism.”
Before taking flight, Kotb, 53, Guthrie, 46, Gifford, 64, and Kelly, 47, sat down with Us.
Us Weekly: The countdown is almost over! What are you most excited about?
Megyn Kelly: I want to see the dress! At every wedding, no matter if it’s in Iowa or a castle in England, the dress is No. 1. Meghan isn’t too traditional, so I hope to see a dress that reflects that.
Savannah Guthrie: It’s a once-in-a-generation event. We love to fall into the fairy tale. And when was the last time we had an American princess?
Kathie Lee Gifford: I’m probably the only woman who doesn’t want to go! I’ve just been traveling like crazy lately. I don’t get this royal mania. But I do think their love story is very charming.
Us: You’ll be on air all day. Have you been diving deep into royal history?
SG: Well, we’ve been watching The Crown [laughs]! I’m sure the royals have their quibbles about what’s true and not, but it really gives a feel of what it means to be in the family and what the responsibilities are.
Hoda Kotb: And we’ll be flanked by incredible experts who have been eating, sleeping and breathing this.
MK: I don’t think anyone is looking at us as experts, and if they are, they’re going to be disappointed. I picture myself drunk at a bar with Kathie Lee, talking to Londoners. How much prep do I have to do?
Us: Meghan’s been in Hollywood for over a decade. Have you ever met?
SG: She had her lifestyle blog, so she’d come on the show for fashion, cooking and craft segments. When I first heard she was who Harry was dating, I was like, “I know her!” But I didn’t get invited to the wedding, so maybe we’re not as close as I thought.
MK: I just love the fact that Harry chose a TV divorcée — like me!
Us: Of course, you’ll wear fascinators?
MK: You’ve got to! It’s bad form, otherwise. I have to say, I like wearing one. I feel like a different person, a better person [laughs].
HK: We’re on TV for a long time, I think we need multiple. Keep in mind, we’re on a rooftop nearby, we’re not going to the wedding. Unless we get incredibly lucky.
SG: Or if we just get drunk and start pounding the gate!
Us: How do you feed off each other on air?
MK: Kathie Lee and I have similar senses of humor, which are not politically correct. We’re definitely going to offend somebody, no question!
SG: Kathie teaches a master class in broadcasting every day. We all just bask in her hilarious aura.
Us: You’re four of the most powerful people in media. Feel the pressure?
KLG: I don’t feel any pressure except to get to set. And what am I going to wear? How am I going to do my hair? I’m in my 53rd year of this business. I learned a long, long time ago that most people’s opinions do not matter.
HK: The location or chair may change, but we’ve done this job for a long time. We feel like the opposite of a big deal, whatever that is.
Us: There’s been a lot of change at Today. How do you lift each other up during those tougher moments?
SG: We certainly support each other in terms of what we do on the air. But we also try to be attuned to what’s going on in our lives off TV. We allow each other to be our whole selves. It’s not like we have to come in and put on act. There’s a great release of pressure in that.
HK: We actually have a lot of downtime on set. The minute Savannah walks into the makeup room, time flies. We laugh, we cry, we tell secrets. Forget the job. If the job went away tomorrow, we’d all still be friends.
SG: We’d still be texting! When you wonder what it’s like, it’s exactly what you see. It doesn’t feel like work. It’s a friendship.
KLG: These are all women of fantastic integrity. Competition does not exist. We have a ball.
Us: People have criticized Meghan, accusing her of giving up her career for love. How do balance your professional and personal lives?
MK: That irritates me. It’s like, shut up! Meghan can live the life she wants. Anyone who has a problem with it needs to look in the mirror and figure out why they’re working out their own issues through her.
SG: I don’t believe you can have everything in balance at all times. I just say, be gentle with yourself and accept where you are — it’s exactly where you’re meant to be.
HK: There are times you’re excelling at one part of your life and the other part isn’t doing well. Savannah and I both came to motherhood late. That made my priorities snap into focus.
Us: Best advice for Meghan and Harry?
SG: Keep laughing.
MK: Say what you least want to say.
HK: And also be a good listener.
KLG: Be kind to each other.
Us: OK, be honest, who would you rather marry: Prince William or Harry?
MK: I’m more of a William gal. I just think he’s very handsome, responsible and intellectual. That’s what I married, so that’s what attracts me.
SG: Please note Hoda and I didn’t even pause for .2 seconds on Harry.
Us: If you were queen for a day, what would be your first mandate?
SG: Every person in the kingdom would get 12 hours of sleep a night.
HK: That’s good! I would mandate sweets on every single menu — and sweets that don’t have any calories.
SG: OK, I’d mandate that the more you ate, the more calories you burn.
HK: Yes, that’s the one!
MK: This is ridiculous: I want somebody to start the Heinz ketchup bottles at all restaurants so I don’t have to work so hard to get the initial ketchup out. It’s a problem someone needs to solve!
Inside the Royal Wedding: Harry and Meghan hosted by Guthrie and Kotb airs on NBC Wednesday, May 16 at 10 p.m. ET. NBC’s Today will air all four of its hours from Windsor Castle on Friday, May 18, beginning at 7 a.m. ET. Wedding coverage kicks off Saturday, May 19, at 4:30 a.m. ET.