I am almost embarrassed to admit that up until recently I had no idea who Meghan Markle was. I had not seen any of her films and I was not a regular watcher of her television series Suits. Well, the whole world knows who she is now. On May 19, 2018, the 36-year-old Northwestern University graduate married Prince Harry, the 33-year-old son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana. Prince Harry’s official title is the Duke of Sussex which means that the former American actress is now the Duchess of Sussex, a member of the United Kingdom’s royal family.
Prince Harry, who is sixth in line to the throne following his father Prince Charles, his brother William and William’s three children (George, Charlotte and Louis), is not likely to ever become the leader of the monarchy. Nevertheless, his choice of bride demonstrates just how much the royal family has evolved. Ms. Markle is not only three years older than Harry, she is also an American, an actress, divorced and bi-racial. In the past, such a marriage would never have been permitted. How times have changed – and in the right direction.
The royal wedding ceremony which took place in St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle which dates back to the 14th century also served as a bringing together of cultures and a bridging of history with the present day. While the wedding service was led by the Dean of Windsor, John Conner, and solemnized by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, the address was delivered by Bishop Michael Curry, the first presiding black bishop of the Episcopal Church. Reverend Curry’s late father Kenneth Curry, was a rector of an African-American parish in Chicago and a civil rights activist.
In his beautiful sermon, Bishop Curry spoke of harnessing love. “We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we discover that, we will be able to make of this old world, a new world. Love is the only way.” The nuptials also included the Kingdom Choir’s stirring rendition of Ben. E. King’s classic “Stand by Me”.
Meghan also paid homage to the past and present with her choice of head dress. The six-foot veil which displayed the flower of each of the 53 countries in the Commonwealth was capped by the Queen Mary Diamond Bandeau Tiara The tiara which was created in 1932 was loaned to Meghan by Queen Elizabeth.
The one person missing from the wedding was of course Prince Harry’s mother Princess Diana who died tragically in a car accident in 1997. However, there were several tributes to Diana integrated into the ceremony. Princess Diana’s sister Lady Jane Fellowes delivered a reading. Meghan’s bouquet included “Forget- Me- Nots”, Princess Diana’s favorite flower. There was also reportedly an empty seat next to Prince William to symbolize Princess Diana’s place.
Many believe that Harry’s marriage to Meghan is yet another reflection of his relationship with his mother. Meghan like Princess Diana has already established a track record of doing meaningful charitable work. Diana was described as the “People’s Princess” by Queen Elizabeth. It is anticipated that the beautiful, intelligent, compassionate Duchess of Sussex will forge a similar path and cultivate a comparable relationship with the world community.
Image: Excerpted from: Mark Jones – Cropped from Flickr version: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rambomuscles/27537241539, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=65635766