In a union of tra­di­tion and moder­nity, US ac­tress Meghan mar­ries Prince Harry See cen­tre pages

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WIND­SOR, Eng­land, (Reuters) - Prince Harry and his ac­tress bride Meghan Markle mar­ried yes­ter­day in a daz­zling cer­e­mony that blended an­cient English rit­ual with African Amer­i­can cul­ture, in­fus­ing the 1,000year-old Bri­tish monar­chy with a blast of moder­nity.

In a me­dieval chapel at Wind­sor Cas­tle that 39 English kings and queens have called home since 1066, Harry and Meghan ex­changed vows watched up close by roy­als and celebri­ties, and from afar by a global TV au­di­ence of many mil­lions.

Wear­ing a veil, di­a­mond tiara and a sleek dress with a long train, the Amer­i­can ac­tress was ac­com­pa­nied up the aisle of St Ge­orge’s Chapel by Harry’s fa­ther, Prince Charles, be­fore she and Harry ex­changed vows and were pro­claimed hus­band and wife.

The cou­ple kissed on the steps of the 15th Cen­tury chapel, be­fore de­light­ing the sea of well-wish­ers, some of whom had camped for days to wit­ness the spec­tac­u­lar show of Bri­tish pomp and pageantry, by tour­ing Wind­sor in a horse­drawn car­riage.

The union of Harry, 33, a for­mer royal wild child and sixth-in-line to the Bri­tish throne, and 36-year-old Meghan, a di­vorcee whose mother is African-Amer­i­can and fa­ther is white, was like no other the royal fam­ily has seen be­fore.

“We can break the bar­ri­ers down, it can be done,” said 40-year-old black Bri­ton Yvonne Emanuel, one of the 100,000-strong crowd that thronged Wind­sor’s streets.

The cer­e­mony was typ­i­cal of royal wed­dings in many ways. The ser­vice was con­ducted by the Dean of Wind­sor while Justin Welby, the Arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury, de­clared the cou­ple man and wife, be­neath the ban­ners of the knights of the Or­der of the

Garter, the world’s old­est chival­ric group dat­ing back to 1348.

The new­ly­weds will also be of­fi­cially known as the Duke and Duchess of Sus­sex af­ter Queen El­iz­a­beth be­stowed those ti­tles on them.

But through­out the wed­ding, there were sig­nif­i­cant breaks with tra­di­tion, in par­tic­u­lar when U.S. Epis­co­palian bishop Michael Bruce Curry de­liv­ered a pas­sion­ate ser­mon that was a far cry from the sober tones of the Church of Eng­land.

“There’s power in love,” he boomed at a con­gre­ga­tion that in­cluded Queen El­iz­a­beth, se­nior roy­als and celebri­ties rang­ing from Oprah Win­frey to Ge­orge Clooney and David Beck­ham.

“Do not un­der­es­ti­mate it. Any­one who has ever fallen in love knows what I mean,” said Curry in an en­er­getic ad­dress that quoted Martin Luther King.

African-Amer­i­can Karen Long, who was among the crowds in Wind­sor lis­ten­ing as the cer­e­mony was re­layed on loud­speak­ers, was one of those who ap­pre­ci­ated the bishop’s fiery ad­dress.

“It was a mo­ment for African-Amer­i­cans,” said Long, who had come from Hous­ton, Texas, with her sis­ter and a group of friends, all dressed as brides­maids. “The idea that Harry al­lowed that and ac­knowl­edged it, it was the per­fect blend between her cul­ture and the royal cul­ture.”

As well as 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 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 Waight Keller of the French fash­ion house Givenchy.

Harry, look­ing ner­vous, ap­peared to say: “Thanks Pa” to his fa­ther, and “You look amaz­ing!” to his beam­ing bride.

In fur­ther breaks with 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.

Be­fore be­com­ing en­gaged to Harry, Meghan, who starred in TV le­gal drama “Suits”, had spo­ken out on a num­ber of fem­i­nist causes.

SYM­BOL OR IR­REL­E­VANCE? The world’s me­dia have been gripped by the oc­ca­sion, and tele­vi­sion chan­nels beamed the cer­e­mony across the world.

To some Bri­tons, the mar­riage of a se­nior mem­ber of the royal fam­ily to the daugh­ter of an AfricanAmer­i­can mother and white fa­ther em­bod­ied a modern Bri­tain where race or back­ground are no bar to even the most elite and tra­di­tional of in­sti­tu­tions.

To oth­ers, it was an ir­rel­e­vance or a mild dis­trac­tion from the schism of Brexit, which has deeply di­vided the United King­dom. Polls sug­gested that most Bri­tons would not bother tun­ing in.

But in the nar­row streets of Wind­sor, 30 miles (20 km) west of London, the en­thu­si­asm from the vast crowds wav­ing Bri­tish flags and cheer­ing was over­whelm­ing, while thou­sands more cel­e­brated at street par­ties held across the coun­try.

Air traf­fic con­trollers for nearby Heathrow Air­port, one of the world’s busiest, even closed the airspace over the town for the 15 min­utes be­fore the cer­e­mony to avoid mar­ring pro­ceed­ings with the roar of low-fly­ing air­craft.

Among the raft of celebrity guests were James Cor­den, Bri­tish host of the Amer­i­can TV chat show “The Late Late Show”, ten­nis ace Ser­ena Wil­liams, Bri­tish ac­tor Idris Elba along with two of Harry’s ex-girl­friends and the sib­lings of Harry’s late mother Princess Diana.

Her sis­ter, Lady Jane Fel­lowes, de­liv­ered the read­ing and the chapel it­self was gar­landed with white roses, the favourite flow­ers of Diana, who died in a car crash in Paris in 1997.

El­ton John, who sang at Diana’s funeral, per­formed at Harry and Meghan’s wed­ding re­cep­tion, held in the cas­tle’s St Ge­orge’s Hall.

The royal cou­ple, who met on a blind date in 2016 and fell in love in a tent un­der the stars in Botswana, later left in a sil­ver blue Jaguar E-Type for nearby Frog­more House man­sion.

Meghan, who was wear­ing a long white dress de­signed by Stella McCart­ney, was, in another break with tra­di­tion, to make a speech at the new­ly­weds’ evening event, to which about 200 guests were in­vited.

With se­cu­rity tight, tens of thou­sands of visi­tors had to pass through po­lice search points around the cas­tle.

Markle’s own fa­ther Thomas Markle, 73, a for­mer light­ing di­rec­tor for TV soaps and sit­coms, pulled out of the cer­e­mony this week, telling the U.S. celebrity web­site TMZ he had had heart surgery on Wed­nes­day.

Con­fu­sion over his at­ten­dance marred the build-up to the wed­ding, which had been chore­ographed for months by royal aides, and his name was still present in the or­der of ser­vice.

Af­ter watch­ing the cer­e­mony from Cal­i­for­nia, he told TMZ it had been “emo­tional and joy­ful”:

“My baby looks beau­ti­ful and she looks very happy. I wish I were there and I wish them all my love and all hap­pi­ness.”

Harry and Meghan will not im­me­di­ately leave for a hon­ey­moon and will carry out their first of­fi­cial en­gage­ment as hus­band and wife next week.

The Bri­tish re­main broadly sup­port­ive of the monar­chy, al­beit with a sense of mild irony about the pomp and pageantry that ac­com­pa­nies it, though most have deep re­spect for Queen El­iz­a­beth af­ter her 66 years of ser­vice as head of state.

De­spite be­ing un­likely to ever as­cend to the throne as he is be­hind his fa­ther, brother, two neph­ews and niece in the line of suc­ces­sion, Harry has been at the fore­front of ef­forts to mod­ernise the monar­chy in re­cent years, re­ject­ing the up­tight royal im­age to talk openly about his in­ner­most feel­ings.

NEIL HALL/Pool via Reuters

Bri­tain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sus­sex and Meghan, Duchess of Sus­sex exit St Ge­orge's Chapel in Wind­sor Cas­tle af­ter their royal wed­ding cer­e­mony, in Wind­sor, Bri­tain, May 19, 2018.

REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/

Bri­tain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan ride a horse-drawn car­riage af­ter their wed­ding cer­e­mony at St Ge­orge’s Chapel in Wind­sor Cas­tle in Wind­sor, Bri­tain, May 19, 2018.

Bri­tain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan ride a horse-drawn car­riage af­ter their wed­ding cer­e­mony at St Ge­orge’s Chapel. REUTERS/Toby Melville

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