Idris Elba Reveals the Best Dancer at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Wedding

The actor was the DJ at the royal couple’s 2018 wedding reception.

Idris Elba

Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

After Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were married on May 19, 2018, the newlyweds continued the festivities during a more intimate evening reception at Frogmore House with 200 of their guests. Friends and family spent all night on the dance floor, thanks to Golden Globe-winning actor Idris Elba, who set the mood for the festivities as the DJ. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight Canada on March 8, 2023, The Wire star reflected on the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play the soundtrack for the royal couple’s special day, and he revealed the best dancer of the night. “I think Meghan was the one that was really letting it go,” he shares. “You know, she was real. She just had a lot of fun. It was her wedding, so she had the greatest time.”

Meghan wasn’t the only one who was enjoying herself, however. A source told People that Elba brought the energy as the DJ, so the A-list celebrity guests couldn’t help busting a move. “It was a huge dance party,” the source said. “Everyone was letting loose and had a blast.” The reception was such a success, largely due to the songs the Luther actor played. During an appearance on BBC’s 1Xtra Rap Show in April of 2022, Elba shared the track list. Two tunes that guests “went off on” when he played them were Dr. Dre’s hit song “Still D.R.E.,” which was a direct request from Meghan, and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston. Another highlight was Harry and Meghan’s first dance song: “Land of 1000 Dances” by Wilson Pickett, which the duchess of Sussex described as “just spinning like a whirlwind” in the couple’s Harry & Meghan docuseries.

In November of 2021, while Elba was looking back on the gig during an interview with Daily Mail, the award-winning actor admitted he was nervous about carrying the energy at Meghan and Harry’s post-ceremony party. “This wasn’t like my cousin’s wedding,” he shared. “This [reception] wasn’t at the community hall. This was a big, big deal.” One of the reasons why he felt anxious about the responsibility was due to his close relationship with the couple. “[Harry and Meghan] are good friends, and I wanted to make sure they had a great time, so there was a lot of pressure,” he admitted. What helped ease his nerves was receiving a playlist from Meghan, so he know what songs he was going to play. A year later, Elba told Jimmy Kimmel that he wasn’t paid for the gig, but instead, it was “my gift for my friends.”  

In addition to upbeat music from the Beast star, Harry and Meghan’s reception also had other standout moments. George Clooney played the role as bartender, and he whipped up mixed drinks for guests to sip on. For the main meal, friends and family dined on backed potato and pork belly. To satisfy their sweet tooth, they served a cake that broke royal wedding tradition: a lemon sponge cake with elderflower syrup, Amalfi lemon curd, and a Swiss meringue buttercream topping infused with elderflower rather than the traditional fruitcake, according to People. To round off the night, the outlet reported that Serena Williams even played beer pong. 

Elba wasn’t the only celebrity that put on a show for the Sussex’s nuptials. Following the church ceremony and before the evening reception, all 600 of their guests joined the newlyweds for a luncheon at St. George’s Hall that Queen Elizabeth II hosted. The couple enlisted Elton John to perform at the gathering. According to a guest, he dedicated “Tiny Dancer” to the bride and sang many of his other hit songs. In July of 2018, the “Rocket Man” singer gushed about the experience to CNN. “It was very, very wonderful to be there,” he expressed. In Harry & Meghan, the duchess said her mom, Doria Ragland, was so excited about seeing the singer perform live. “I couldn’t find my mom because she had beelined to the stage to watch Elton John sing,” she revealed.

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