UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY) – Britain’s Prince Harry married American actress Megan Markell on Saturday at a dazzling ceremony that combined deep-rooted English traditions and African-American culture to plunge the British royal family, dating from more than a thousand years, into an atmosphere of modernity.
The wedding ceremony took place at St. George’s Church in Windsor Castle, where 39 British monarchs and queens have lived since 1066, attended by members of the royal family and celebrities and watched by millions on television.
Megan wore a white dress and put a diamond crown on her head. She was accompanied by the British Crown Prince Charles to the altar where she exchanged with Prince Harry the words of marriage before Justin and Wilby, Archbishop of Canterbury to declare them husband and wife.
After a kiss on the stairs of St. George’s Church, Harry and Megan went to a horse-drawn carriage dating back to the 19th century and crossed the streets of Windsor where tens of thousands of well-wishers lined up to see the bridegrooms.
Prince Harry, 33, is the sixth in the state of the throne and his bride Meghan, 36, is three years older than divorced. Her mother is African American and her father is white.
“We can break the barriers, it can be done,” said a 40-year-old black Britishwoman, Ivon Emanuel. Emmanuel was among the crowd gathered in the streets of Windsor to see the two brides and about 100,000 people.
The wedding ceremony was similar to royal weddings in many respects. It was overseen by the Windsor priest while Justin Wilby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the prince and his bride, announced a husband and wife.
The bride and groom will become Duke and Duchess of Sussex to join the British royal family.
But the ceremony was punctuated by a lot of broken tradition, especially when the American black priest Michael Bruce Curry delivered a passionate sermon in sharp contrast to the discourteous words of the Anglican Church.
The US pastor told the audience “Love is strong” in front of Queen Elizabeth and other royal family members and celebrities, including American media Oprah Winfrey, American star George Clooney and former footballer David Beckham.
“Do not underestimate love. All those who have fallen in love know what I mean, “he quoted words from the black American human rights leader Martin Luther King.
The wedding was also attended by British actor James Cordon and tennis player Serena Williams and the brothers of the late Princess Diana, the mother of Harry and singer Elton John, who sang at Diana’s funeral in 1997, the British actor Idris Elba and two former wives of Prince Harry.
Harry looked nervous and said to Charles, “Thank you, Dad” and for Megan, “you look amazing.” Daria Rajland, 61, the mother of Megan, was in tears. The Church Choir chanted the song “Stand By Me”, which was sung by the late American singer Ben E. King in the sixties of the last century.
In addition to tradition, the ceremony was characterized by modern appearances according to British property standards. The 36-year-old Megan did not commit to obeying her husband and Harry, who is three years younger, will wear a wedding ring, unlike other senior members of the royal family.
– Code or useless? –
For some Britons, the marriage of a senior member of the royal family is the divorce of an African-American mother and her father as the embodiment of a modern Britain whose race or background is not considered an obstacle even for the largest traditional institution.
Others see it as pointless, or distract attention from the divide that Britain’s exit from the EU poses. Polls show most Britons will not be interested in watching the concert.
But in Windsor, 20 km west of London, tens of thousands lined up on a path to the castle and waved British flags.
Air traffic controllers at nearby Heathrow, one of the world’s busiest airports, closed airspace over Windsor Castle for 15 minutes before the wedding began.
In a clear sky and a sunny atmosphere, a military band played to entertain the well-wishers who rallied behind barriers. Police patrolled the streets and watched the scene from rooftops.
“This is a moment where we can all celebrate the revival of the royal family,” said Kenny McKinlay, 60, who came from Scotland to Windsor.
“It is a moment in which the whole nation is united rather than divided. It’s a day you can feel proud of being a British.”
– Love in a tent –
The couple met for the first time at a joint friend’s date in 2016 and their emotional relationship developed when they met in a tent in Botswana and held their marriage on Saturday in a castle where 39 British monarchs lived since 1066.
Under strict security measures, tens of thousands of visitors visited police checkpoints around the palace.
The ceremony was missed by Thomas Markle, 73, Megan’s father, and told the celebrity news site TMS that he had heart surgery on Wednesday.
After seeing the marriage ceremony in California, Marcell told the website that it was an event “full of emotion and joy.”
“My pet looks pretty and looks very happy. I wish I were there and I wish them all the love and all the happiness.”
He was coordinated to exchange the vows of the Windsor priest with Wilby, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the spiritual leader of the Anglican Church.
Diana’s sister, Jane’s Philos, gave a speech during the ceremony.
Harry and Megan will perform their first official duties as husband and wife this week.