Shires singer's 'emotional' return to Windsor for royal wedding
Singer Ben Earle has said ahead of his return to the grounds of Windsor Castle for the royal wedding that he feels “quite emotional” to come back to the place where his musical career began.
Musician Earle is one half of the successful UK country duo The Shires. He is also very familiar with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding venue.
As a child, he sang in the choir at St George’s Chapel – including for the marriage ceremony of Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex.
On Saturday, Earle and his Shires bandmate Crissie Rhodes will perform in Windsor as part of BBC Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans’ coverage of the royal wedding.
Speaking ahead of their performance, Earle discussed the strong, personal connections he has with the chapel.
He said: “To return to the place where I grew up and started my musical career, and to be thrust into the spotlight this weekend, makes me feel quite emotional.
“It’s the third wedding in St George’s Chapel that I will have strong connection to.
“My Mum actually met my stepdad in the Chapel. He was a lay clerk in the choir and I remember passing her number to him after she told me that she thought he looked ‘nice’.
“They then went on to marry in St George’s Chapel too. The Chapel holds a very special place in my heart with very fond memories and like most of the world, I will be watching on Saturday.”
Earle is no stranger to royalty, and even sang a solo in the Queen’s Christmas message in 1999, aged 12.
While he was attending St George’s School, where he studied after successfully auditioning for the choir, Earl lived in the grounds of Windsor Castle.
Earl was brought up by his mother, who was a struggling single parent at the time he joined the choir.
Reflecting on his dramatic change in circumstances, Earle recalled his first encounter with the Queen.
He said: “For a kid with my background, it was an incredible opportunity and offered me a lifestyle that was very different from what I had experienced or could have imagined.
“I can remember playing in the castle grounds when I was about nine years old, when a jeep went past me and I looked up and it was the Queen driving.
“I guess being so young, I didn’t realise how special or significant this was, but looking back, it was really cool.”
On Friday, The Shires will play at the Royal Albert Hall as part of a tour for their latest album Accidentally On Purpose.
The duo’s third record was released in April and debuted at number three on the Official Albums Chart in the UK.