Prince Harry marries Meghan Markle

Prince Harry, now Duke of Sussex, married his American beau, actress Meghan Markle on Saturday in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
The ceremony capped a week-long frenzy that engulfed the whole of England and the rest of world. Thousands of people, who travelled from far and near, camped on the open grounds of the Long Walk, the Carriage Procession route, outside the Windsor Castle ahead of the Big Day, just to catch a glimpse of their beloved Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
The mixed multitude had white faces, blacks and Hispanics who wanted to be part of the history making ceremony, particularly at a time when the terms of diversity and inclusion have a very strong social voice.
On the eve of the wedding, Prince Harry in company of his older brother, Prince William the Duke of Cambridge stepped outside to greet well-wishers.
Following the footsteps of her husband, Markle did same, even hugging some members of the crowd, a gesture that was frowned at by the conservative English establishment, who do not appreciate that owing to her being in the spotlight, the gesture was natural.
In more ways than one, Prince Harry who is the sixth in line to the throne has expressed his intention to modernize the British monarchy, and his wedding to a woman who is bi-racial, older and an American with no blue blood provided the antecedent to stir such an evolution.
Known for their strict principles which have seen the likes of King Edward VIII abdicate his throne to marry the love of his life, Wallis Simpson, a divorced American in 1936, there were doubts that Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II would embrace a descendant of an American slave family as a future grand-daughter in-law. The royal wives of Windsor till saturday had come from a family of respectable standard in the British high society. But Markle’s emergence has changed everything.
She completely re-wrote the history of Windsor marriages as the first biracial bride to have an unconventional wedding ceremony within the high walls of the royal castle. Indeed, the ceremony was exceptional in many ways.
From Markle walking down the aisle alone due to the absence of her father, Thomas, a former Hollywood lighting director who could not attend the wedding due to health issues, and later accompanied from the Quire to the altar by her Father-in-law, Prince Charles; the rousing speech of Bishop Michael Curry, the American preacher who is also the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, who quoted Martin Luther King, Jr. and mentioned slavery and the healing power of love; the reading by a black chaplain to the Queen, Rose Hudson-Wilkin; the soul-lifting rendition of Ben E. King’s 1961 song ‘Stand by Me’ by Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir; down to the cello performance by the first black musician to win the BBC Young Musician of the Year award in 2016, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, the ceremony infused with a good dose of African-American heritage. Diversity never looked so beautiful as aristocrats of the British society mingled with different people of colour in the gathering.
On all sides, the odds were stacked against Meghan, daughter of an African-American social worker and yoga instructor, Doria Ragland and a retired Hollywood lighting director, Thomas who is a Caucasian. Meghan may be described as the modern day fairy-tale character, Cinderella with her humble background, though no wicked step-mother, but she has older step-siblings, Thomas Markle Jr. and Samantha Grant who posted negative comments in the media about her.
Previously married to actor and producer, Trevor Engelson until their divorce in 2013, Meghan’s past made her the least candidate for the royal family. Yet, providence opened a new chapter for her when her path crossed that of the charming Prince Harry in 2016. Introduced by a mutual friend, the couple started dating in June, 2016 and by October that year, the royal family had released an official statement confirming their relationship while admonishing the media for defamatory remarks targeted at Meghan.
They announced their engagement in November, 2017, when Prince Harry gave her a ring that consists of a large central diamond from Botswana, with two smaller diamonds from the jewellery collection of his mother, the late Princess of Wales, Diana. Meghan embracing her new role deleted her social media accounts as well as quit her acting career.
As the day to the wedding drew near, critics weighed in on how the mixed-race actress will be accepted into the royal family. Will her strong beliefs as a feminist fade or will she impact on the British monarchy in her own way?
The wedding yesterday was proof that Meghan is not only accepted into the family but also in a subtle manner, entrenching her feminist beliefs into the royal system. Having planned the marriage service with her Prince, she ensured that her heritage was not swallowed by the British monarchy. It wasn’t aggressive but suitably planned to achieve the required balance at such a high-profile ceremony. From her wedding dress designed by the acclaimed British designer and first female artistic director at the French Fashion House, Givenchy, Clare Waight Keller to her decision to walk in unaccompanied, echoed her feminism beliefs even as she climbs the rungs of the ladder of British royalty.
The fanfare surrounding the royal wedding heightened the true meaning of the occasion as millions of people around the world watched the event. There was no doubt that the Duke of Sussex is really in love with his bride. Arriving earlier on foot with his older brother Prince William, who was also his best man, the Duke smiled and waved at the crowd. He was looking radiant in his frockcoat uniform of the Blues and Royals. The look of apprehension was visible on his face as he awaited the arrival of his bride. A breath-taking silence engulfed the high walls of the chapel as the royal bride of the day, Meghan Markle walked in alone to the chapel. Harry’s face beamed with pride as he watched his father walked his beau to the altar. He smiled beautifully more than once as they approached. Muttering a ‘thank you’ to his father, he looked into the loving eyes of his bride with all the sincerity in his heart and told her, ‘You look amazing’.
Intimate moments of sweet whispers and touching of hands including the awkward moment when the groom had difficulty slipping the ring on his bride’s finger marked some of the highlights of the day. The couple conveyed all the intimate confessions which they couldn’t say aloud at the service through their eyes and hands. The groom was often seen holding the hands of his bride as if someone would snatch her away if he let go. Their love was indeed sparkling and earned a few unshed tears from the guests, particularly Meghan’s mother who watched with misty eyes, looking all modest in her Oscar de le Renta lime and lemon dress.
The exchange of wedding vows which was taken from Common Worship, the Church of England’s standard liturgy, first published in 2000 was a break from tradition. Prince William and Kate Middleton chose a slightly amended version of the vows from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer at their wedding in 2011.

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