A royal wedding bridges the Atlantic, opens up a modern era


WINDSOR, England (AP) — The son of British royalty and the daughter of middle-class Americans wed Saturday in a service that reflected Prince Harry's royal heritage, Meghan Markle's biracial roots and the pair's shared commitment to putting a more diverse, modern face on the monarchy.

British reserve crisscrossed with American verve in a service that broke molds and created new ones. Choirboys and a gospel choir; the archbishop of Canterbury and the African-American leader of the Episcopal church; a horse-drawn carriage and flowers hand-picked by the groom.

The wedding was a global event, thanks to Harry's status as a senior British royal and Markle's celebrity after starring on the U.S. television series "Suits" for seven years. Yet it seemed somehow so personal — and they both beamed like a couple who couldn't take their eyes off each other.

In a rousing sermon that highlighted a bit of a culture gap between outgoing Americans and reserved Brits, the Most. Rev. Michael Curry of the U.S. stirred the congregation from its fairy-tale reverie, quoting Martin Luther King in in a sermon that had some reaching for hankies and others shifting in their chairs.

"There's power in love," Curry said, his voice rising. "Love can help and heal when nothing else can. There's power in love to lift up and liberate when nothing else will."

He also quoted from the Song of Solomon in the Bible: "Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it."

Joining the couple were a phalanx of celebrities, many of whom shared their wish to change the world. Oprah Winfrey, Idris Elba, Elton John, George and Amal Clooney, Serena Williams, James Corden and David and Victoria Beckham all watched from rows of seats in the Gothic masterpiece that is St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.

The British weather was — gasp! — sunny and balmy, bathing the ancient stones of Windsor Castle in a beautiful spring light.

Many in the throng who waited outside also embraced the trans-Atlantic symbolism of the moment. Sheraton Jones, 22, who is from California but studying in Britain, described it as a melding of cultures.

"It was very touching, it's two different cultures kind of coming together, it was just so surreal," she said.

In the United States, this royal wedding was embraced for its diversity and inclusivity.

"This was black history," said Joy Widgeon, who attended a house party in Burlington, New Jersey, with her 6- and 8-year-old daughters. "African-Americans were front and center at the royal wedding. This was the first time, and hopefully it won't be the last. I am here for it."

Harry also invited buddies from his 10 years of military service — which included two tours of duty in Afghanistan — and from many of the charities he supports, which have focused on helping wounded veterans and encouraging a more open discussion of mental health issues.

To kick off the festivities, Queen Elizabeth II honored her red-headed, 33-year-old grandson with a new title: the Duke of Sussex, making the 36-year-old Markle the Duchess of Sussex.

The American actress drew raves for her sleek white silk boat-necked dress by U.K. designer Clare Waight Keller of the French fashion house Givenchy. Her sheer veil — down to her waist in front and billowing for what seemed like miles behind her — carried floral references to all 53 countries in the Commonwealth, countries drawn mostly from the former British Empire, headed by Markle's new grandmother-in-law, the queen.

"The dress is simply beautiful in its classic simplicity," said Caroline Burstein, owner of Browns Bride, a top London bridal boutique. She called it "a nod to Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and every iconic wedding we have witnessed throughout the 20th and 21st century. It's perfect for her and for the occasion they are celebrating."

The palace said Markle also selected two other plant designs to be on the veil: Wintersweet, which grows at Kensington Palace. where the royal couple will live, and the California poppy, in a nod to the bride's birthplace.

Harry and best man Prince William wore white gloves and the frock coat uniforms of the Blues and Royals army regiment, in which Harry was once an officer. Harry also kept his full red beard — a style decision that had sparked British betting earlier.

Markle at first walked down the aisle with 10 young page boys and bridesmaids, then was accompanied by Prince Charles to the altar. As his father and bride drew close, Harry said: "Thank you, Pa."

To Markle, Harry said: "You look amazing."

Markle seemed poised and confident as she delivered her vows without so much as a quiver in her voice. She smiled broadly as archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby declared the couple husband and wife. Harry seemed a bit nervous but happy.

As they emerged from the chapel, the couple kissed — and the crowd roared. It just kept on cheering as Harry helped his wife fold her 5 metre (16½ foot) train into the Ascot Landau carriage as they began their procession through the streets of Windsor.

Police said more than 100,000 people lined the route. The royal couple's open-topped carriage was pulled by four Windsor Grey horses and past crowds waving flags and holding cellphones aloft. The newlyweds smiled and waved, smiled at each other, waved and repeated the process for the 25-minute tour of Windsor.

Other relatives in the ceremony included 4-year-old Prince George and 3-year-old Princess Charlotte, the oldest children of William and the Duchess of Cambridge.

The 92-year-old queen and her 96-year-old husband, Prince Philip, Harry's grandparents, looked on with pride, as did Markle's mother, Doria Ragland, who has spent the last few days getting to know her daughter's new family.

Two of Harry's ex-girlfriends were at the chapel — Chelsy Davy and Cressida Bonas — as was Sarah Ferguson, the ex-wife of Harry's uncle, Prince Andrew.

The queen hosted the first of two royal wedding receptions after the service Saturday, one in the afternoon for 600 people with finger foods, wine and champagne. On Saturday night, a second, more lively reception for 200 people was being thrown by Charles.

Yet it was the crowds in Windsor that seemed to best capture the joy of the moment. Many had camped or arrived at dawn on packed trains, vying for a good spot along the procession route. They cheered and screamed and sighed as the newlyweds passed by.

"I went to William and Kate's wedding, but this is a completely different vibe," said Arlene Prinsloo, who had flown from South Africa. "It's much more relaxed, and I think that reflects who Harry is."

Ana Karukin, a Brazilian nurse living in Florida, said she came to witness a moment of history.

"We've got to be here for him and for her, my Meghan, my special girl, to support them, because it's a beautiful time," she said. "I wish that Diana was here, but she's in heaven watching over them."


John 6 years ago

Yes it seems that while the Royal Family and their guests had finally accepted everything nont traditional about the queen’s grandson, Harry ‘s, weeding, non were prepared for Rev. Curry’s sermon that featured quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King and exerpts from the ole negro spiritual, ‘A Balm in Giliad.’ As Rev. Curry delivered his hard hitting, unusual, and obviously directed sermon, not only could wedding guests , including members of the royal seen squirming in their seats, but the profuse sweating by many would lead one to believe the air conditioner had failed. And the stunningly dressed Serena Williams captured the press and the absence of Donald Trump was of no major concern, because, according to Rev. Curry, ‘Love conquers all,’. And Martin Luther King’s dream of little black boys holding hands with little white girls was transferred to a prince holding hands with the love of his life in a palatial sort of way for the entire world to see. And the Rolls Royce’s and the police driven Range Rovers and of course the blue Jaguar. And Magan’s Mother wearing dreadlocks and herself obviously blushing at Rev Curry’s sermon, was the only member of her family there.


OldFort2012 6 years ago

Air conditioners, in England? In a chapel, what is more? Are you out of your mind?


John 6 years ago

And while Bahamian women could have easily outdone the Brits in the hat attire, Meghan, in her natural beauty, and absence of excessive makeup and unusual cut wedding dress, that seem to fit her into it naturally, easily seamlessly assumed the role of Sir Sidney Poitier in the movie, ‘Guess who’s coming to dinner.’


sheeprunner12 6 years ago

Meghan is a part of the Diaspora ....... a product of the slave system that Britain brought to America ........... It is about time that one of us take over the damn Palace.


OldFort2012 6 years ago

It was most definitely not Britain that brought slavery to the Americas. That was Spain and Portugal, hundreds of years earlier. Britain ended it. Unilaterally, with no support from any other nation. By force. And instead of thanking them, you write this crap?


sheeprunner12 6 years ago

Old Fort, I am definitely sure that you are white or wanna-be white ...... But Britain was THE WORST slave trading nation on Earth ..... Spain and Portugal did initiate it, but Britain took it it to a new art form .... Ever heard of the Triangular Trade?????? ...... As far as ending it is concerned, it was an economic more than a moral decision ....... Do your research, please.


joeblow 6 years ago

In truth, slavery and slave trading has been a part of human history for many thousands of years in virtually every culture on earth. Blacks were not the only people to be enslaved, they were simply the most recent race to be traded as slaves!


OldFort2012 6 years ago

So there are black facts and white facts? Britain was just more efficient at trading, that is for sure. Your assertion that it was an economic decision is refuted by all available facts, be they white or black facts. Ever heard of Wilberforce? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William...">https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William...

Ending of slavery was so un-economic that it had to be enforced for nearly 100 years by the Royal Navy blockading a whole continent. It was so en-economic that the Americans, those bastions of non-market forces, continued with it for another 50 years and fought a civil war over it. It was a 100% moral decision which was campaigned for for decades and made it through Parliament solely on moral grounds in the teeth of opposition from planters and merchants. Refuting facts does not help anyone. It just becomes a crutch which supports and justifies today's failures (and they are massive).


islandgirly15 6 years ago

Sheeprunner12, what does a person's skin colour have to do with their opinion? That sort of thinking is what prevents us from forward advancement. The belief that one person should take over another because of the colour of their skin is what started that brand of slavery in the first place. We all live with the effects of race based slavery. If we are to move forward in thought, action, and, heart we must study the past but never repeat it. Wish the couple the best and move on. As for OldFort2012, your statements are misleading and exonerate Britain completely of their involvement. We aren't here by accident. Yes, it is true that Britain abolished the slave trade and slavery well before the Americans. Yes, it is true that Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were more progressive on race than their subjects of the day BUT Britain didn't obtain empire status simply by exchanging pleasantries. It's important that we acknowledge the good and with bad.


stillwaters 6 years ago

How in the world did yall turn this story( a story about two people in love) into one about slavery?????????


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