WINDSOR, England, UK – Prince Harry Charles Albert David, Duke of Sussex and his bride Rachel Meghan Markle married on Saturday May 19, 2018, in a dazzling ceremony that blended ancient English ritual with African American culture, watched up close by royals and celebrities and from afar by a global TV audience of millions.
According to news reports, wearing a veil, diamond tiara and a sleek dress with a long train, American Markle was accompanied up the aisle at St George’s Chapel in Windsor, England by Harry’s father, Prince Charles Philip Arthur George, before she and Harry exchanged vows and were proclaimed husband and wife.
Black blood in the British Royals?
The union of Harry, a former “royal wild child” and sixth-in-line to the British throne, and actress Meghan, a divorcee whose mother is African-American and father is white, brought a measure of modern glamour and diversity into the monarchy.
The couple kissed on the steps of the chapel as they emerged into the sunlight after the ceremony, delighting vast crowds who had descended on the genteel town to witness a spectacular show of British pomp and pageantry according to news obtained by Reuters.
Newly styled the Duke and Duchess of Sussex after Queen Elizabeth II bestowed those titles on them, the couple then sat in an open-top horse-drawn coach for a tour of Windsor, cheered by a sea of well-wishers along every inch of the route.
The local British authority said just over 100,000 people were in Windsor for the occasion, which unfolded under clear blue skies. The ceremony also broke with tradition, in particular when U.S. Episcopalian Bishop Michael B. Curry delivered a passionate sermon that was a far cry from the sober tones of the Church of England.
Big names at the wedding
Big names at the wedding included Queen Elizabeth II, other royal families from around the world, UK senior royals and celebrities ranging from Oprah Winfrey to Sir Elton H. John CBE, George T. Clooney, Karen Long and David R. J. Beckham, too many British elected political figures.
Reuters reported that outside of the traditional Church of England anthems and delicate English choral music, the ceremony also featured a gospel choir singing “Stand by Me”, the 1960s hit by American soul singer Ben E. King.
Meghan’s mother, Doria L. Ragland, 61, accompanied her daughter to the chapel in a vintage Rolls Royce and shed tears of emotion at several points during the ceremony. Meghan entered the chapel unescorted, offering TV viewers and the congregation a first good look at her hotly anticipated wedding dress, which was created by British designer Clare W. Keller of the French fashion house Givenchy.
In further breaks with royal tradition, Markle, 36, did not vow to obey her husband; while Harry, who is three years her junior, wore a wedding ring – unlike other senior male royals such as his older brother Prince William Arthur Philip Louis Windsor.
Prince Harry’s office announced that at a private wedding reception later there would be speeches not only by Charles and Harry but also by Meghan herself – another unusual feature as in traditional English weddings brides do not usually make a speech.