Meet the Duke and Duchess of Sussex
WINDSOR, England — 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 a sermon that had some reaching for hankies and others shifting in their chairs.
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 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, N.J., with her 6- and 8-yearold daughters. “AfricanAmericans 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 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.