The royal wedding of Britain's Prince Harry to American actress Meghan Markle is destined to be one of the year's most memorable events. And also, one of its most glamorous. Taking place May 19 in St. George's Chapel -- on the grounds of Windsor Castle, about 20 miles west of central London -- the fairytale wedding will precede a two-mile procession through the town of Windsor, during which Harry and Meghan will wave to adoring members of the public from inside their horse-drawn carriage.
What is sure to be a magical day for the royal couple can also be an inspiring day for North American meeting planners, many of who will likely discover unique ideas for their own events when they tune in to watch the nuptials from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. In that spirit, here are five North American hotels that are good enough for royals -- and for your most regal meetings.The Grand Ballroom at Hilton Chicago (Chicago, IL)
Queen Elizabeth II has occupied the British throne for over 65 years -- longer than any other king or queen in the history of Great Britain. Not only is she Britain's longest-reigning monarch, however; she also is the first reigning British monarch to ever visit Chicago. Her historic visit took place in 1959, when she was just 33 years old. She was in North America celebrating the St. Lawrence Seaway, which opened Great Lakes shipping channels to the Atlantic Ocean. Joined by her husband, Prince Philip, her 15,000-mile, 45-day itinerary along the seaway included a 14-hour stop in Chicago, where she was the guest of honor at a city-sponsored dinner that took place at The Conrad Hilton Hotel -- now the Hilton Chicago
. The event took place in the hotel's 12,640-square-foot Grand Ballroom (pictured above), which to this day can accommodate groups of up to 1,650 people in opulent surroundings that include French-crafted fixtures, Czechoslovakian crystal chandeliers, Fresco-style oil paintings, and sumptuous carpet that just so happens to feature the color of royalty: purple.The Crown Room at Hotel del Coronado (Coronado, CA)Hotel del Coronado
is a famous destination for American royalty: classic Hollywood celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Cary Grant, and Katherine Hepburn, as well as their contemporary counterparts -- Brad Pitt, Oprah Winfrey, and Steven Spielberg, just to name a few. However, this historic resort also is a favorite of real-deal British royals. In fact, "the Del" hosted a grandiose banquet honoring Edward, Prince of Wales, in 1920. According to unsubstantiated hotel lore, it's there that Edward may have first met Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee whose relationship with Edward caused a constitutional crisis in the United Kingdom that forced him to abdicate the throne when he briefly became king in 1936. Today, groups can still meet in the Crown Room, where Edward's banquet took place. Totaling 9,318 square feet, it can accommodate more than 1,000 people beneath its 30-foot sugar-pine ceiling, whose namesake crown chandeliers were designed by frequent Del guest L. Frank Baum, author of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz."The Continental Ballroom at The Peabody Memphis (Memphis, TN)
Every day, there's a royal procession of sorts at The Peabody Memphis
, where the hotel's famous ducks have been marching through the lobby at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. for nearly 90 years. But the Peabody ducks aren't the only "royalty" with a history at this historic property: In 2014, Princes William and Harry reserved an entire floor of the hotel when they were in Memphis to attend the wedding of their close friend, British nightclub owner Guy Pelly, and his bride, Holiday Inn heiress Lizzy Wilson. Although it's not the hotel's largest meeting space -- that honor belongs to the 16,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom -- check out the 5,200-square-foot Continental Ballroom and adjacent Louis XVI room, whose ornate crown molding is an elegant backdrop for events with or without royal attendees. They can accommodate groups of up to 700 and 150 people, respectively.The Ballroom at The Fairmont Royal York (Toronto, ON)
Since opening in 1929, The Fairmont Royal York
has hosted more than 40 million guests. Perhaps its most illustrious visitors, however, have been Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Phillip, whose portraits hang in the lobby. The royal matriarch has stayed in the hotel's 5,000-square-foot, two-bedroom Royal Suite on at least four separate occasions, according to local newspaper the Toronto Sun, which says the hotel keeps special furnishings for the queen in storage and puts them in the suite exclusively for her when she visits. The massive and elegant hotel has 1,365 guest rooms and 70,000 square feet of meeting space -- including the 5,000-square-foot Ballroom, which is purported to be the most photographed room in all of Toronto thanks to its gorgeous oil-painted ceiling that instantly turns any event into a work of art.Luxury Suites at The Carlyle (New York, NY)
When most people think of royals and New York, they think of The Waldorf Astoria New York
, which boasts a two-bedroom Presidential Suite in which Queen Elizabeth II has slept and a two-bedroom Royal Suite that once was the residence of Prince Edward and Wallis Simpson -- the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. But with The Waldorf closed for renovations until 2019 or 2020, Manhattan's most royal hotel is now The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel
. Not only did The Carlyle host Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2014, but it also was the residence of William's mother, Princess Diana, whenever she visited New York. Although the hotel's meeting space is on the scant side, small groups might consider hosting an event in one of its luxury suites for an intimate ambience that's at once royal and residential.