The Definitive History of the Royal Family and the Spice Girls

The Definitive History of the Royal Family and the Spice Girls
From TIME - February 28, 2018

Britain has its official royalty. And then it has its pop royalty, crowned by the queens of girl power themselves: the Spice Girls. After breaking out into chart-topping success in 1996, the fivesomeVictoria Posh Beckham (ne Adams), Geri Ginger Horner (ne Halliwell), Emma Baby Bunton, Melanie Scary Brown and Melanie Sporty Chisholmtook over the world in just a few short years before ultimately disbanding in 2000. Now, however, as all eyes turn back to the U.K. in advance of the upcoming wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on May 19, the Spice Girls are back in the conversation ever since Mel B hinted they would be party guests.

It turns out those invitations are not a random royal request. Theres a significant history between the Spice Girls and the British royal family, going all the way back to their first meeting with Prince Charles more than 20 years ago, and continuing at least through that other Royal Wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011. Heres a timeline of some of the most-documented moments between the royals and the music iconsall potentially culminating in an especially big day in May.

The Spice Girls meet Prince Charles (May 1997)

The connection between the U.K.s beloved girl group and the royal family seems to have begun way back in the 1990s, at the peak of their popularity. At a royal gala performance celebrating the Princes Trust Charity in May of 1997just months before Princess Dianas deathPrince Charles was snapped enjoying their spirited company at the event. At the time, their hit single Wannabe had already reached #1 on the U.K. charts and on the Billboard Hot 100, solidifying them as the pop group of the moment; the Opera House gala was their first big British gig. There was even a bit of scandal about their meeting with the Prince, too, as both Mel B and Halliwell breached royal protocol by giving Prince Charles big kisses on his cheeks. Mel B asked if they could score a dinner inviteand recommended he get his tongue piercedwhile Ginger even told the Prince she found him very sexy. Outlets reported that she also pinched his bum, but she has since corrected that she gave him a pat. (The video evidence is inconclusive.) In any case, it was a memorable first encounter.

The Spice Girls honor Princess Diana at awards show (Sept. 1997)

Less than a week after Princess Dianas passing, the Spice Girls won a Best Dance Video award at the MTV Video Music Awards in New York City for Wannabe. In their acceptance speech, they honored the princess fondly: Wed like to dedicate this award to Princess Diana, who is a great loss for our country, Mel C said onstage that night.

Prince Harry and Prince Charles hang with the icons in South Africa (Nov. 1997)

In the fall of 1997, the young Prince Harrythen 13 years oldwent on a safari trip with a friend and nanny to Botswana. At the tail end, his father Prince Charles flew down to South Africa to meet up with him (and Nelson Mandela) in Johannesburg. The final component of this diplomatic summit? The Spice Girls, of course. Not only did Mandela and Charles wax poetic about the importance of the groups message of Girl Power (They are my heroes, Mandela said lightly, according to the BBC, calling it one of the greatest moments of his life), while Charles also lavished them with praise, not to be outdone by Harry: It is the second greatest moment in my life, the Prince said of hanging out with the Spice Girls. The greatest was the first time that I met them. Harry also got a chance to meet them himself; they apparently spent plenty of time holding his hand and paying him attention, particularly Baby. Harry and Charles also were treated to a Spice Girls charity performance for the Two Nations concert.

Princes Charles, William and Harry all show up to the Spice World premiere (Dec. 1997)

Both Prince William and Prince Harry were in the presence of greatness during the Spice World premiere at the end of 1997, when their dad brought them along to the red carpet for the gala premiere with the five famous ladies. Apparently, the Spice Girls jokingly tried to convince Prince Charles to be their new managerthey had recently parted ways with their longtime manager Simon Fullerbut it was an offer he ultimately declined.

Prince Charles pens note to Geri Halliwell (Aug. 1998)

When Ginger decided to quit the group in 1998, Prince Charles chose to send her a letter. He noted: The group will not be the same without you and asked What will I do without your wonderfully friendly greeting? (That alluded to her unorthodox tendency to give him a cheek kiss.) I really wanted you to know how deeply Ive appreciated your great generosity to my Princes Trust and how much I wish you well for whatever the future holds, he further wrote, referencing her appearance at his charity galas. He signed the letter with lots of love. Halliwell and the Prince were later crossed paths at the Princes Trust Comedy Gala a few months later.

Prince Charles chats with Victoria Beckham (July 2000)

and shares a moment with Emma Bunton (2002)

Mel C recalls a high tea with the young royals (2007)

Victoria Beckham attends the Royal Wedding (April 2011)

Prince William presents Victoria Beckham with an honor (April 2017)

and chats with Emma Bunton for charity (April 2017)

The Spice Girls Reunion Could Happen at the Royal Wedding


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