In the Suburbs / Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Markle — a true couple of the people
“Two people fell in love and we all showed up” - The Most Reverend Michael Curry
And, indeed, this past weekend millions of us did fall in love at the wedding of Britain’s dashing and handsome Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, .the beautiful American actress from the long-running drama “Suits” and millions of us showed up, even if just to watch on television. Their storybook wedding emphasized “the pair’s commitment to putting a more diverse, modern face on the monarchy,” according to an Associated Press piece.
The ceremony, held in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle outside of London, embraced diversity and inclusivity, the Associated Press reported and was further inspired by the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury and Most Reverend Michael Curry, whose sermon jolted many of the prim and proper guests in the chapel with powerful words, often from the late Dr. Martin Luther King. Reverend Curry’s words, focused on the importance of love and reached out to all cultures.
What I found so powerful about this wedding were the soft looks and silent expressions of love and joy that Prince Harry and Ms. Markle, now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex reflected. This couple is truly a couple of the people, daring to break with tradition and challenge the monarchy to broaden its views and live in the 21st century.
While the couple certainly stayed within royal guidelines for planning their special wedding, they added touches that truly made this a unique event. For instance, their invitation list did not include the leaders of other countries or even their own. They offered more than 2,000 members of the public an opportunity to get closer to them by being on the grounds just outside Windsor Castle and getting a chance to see the couple as they emerged from the chapel.
When the new Duchess of Sussex’ father was unable to walk his daughter down the aisle because of a heart problem, Ms. Markle asked her new father-in-law (with Harry’s blessing, of course) to meet her at the center of the chapel after she had walked in alone and to escort her the remaining distance to the altar. The decision proved to be powerful and touching at the same time.
Among the guests were Prince Harry’s military buddies and representatives from the many charities he supports, “which have focused”, according to the Associated Press, “on helping wounded veterans and encouraging a more open discussion of mental health issues.”
The Duchess’ guest list included a virtual who’s who of Hollywood notables, sports figures and especially her colleagues from the long-running series, “Suits”.
For their two-mile carriage ride through the quaint town of Windsor, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were clearly thrilled to be closer to the thousands of people who came from around the world just to be part of their special day.
While the Queen’s luncheon following the ceremony included all 600-plus guests, the Prince and his new bride hosted an evening party for only 200 invited guests, giving them the opportunity to unwind with close family and those with whom they share special friendships.
These beautiful nuptials and carriage ride afterward, reminded me of the many royal-themed Hallmark movies I’ve seen over the past year. So much about this wedding reminded me of recent Hallmark movies where a female commoner has captured the heart of a prince or a king and transforms his stuffy kingdom into a place where she will play a pivotal role as a new royal.
I remember one movie where the would-be bride, a lawyer, learned that the prince she was falling for, discreetly left the palace to work with young people in a community center. When the young woman realized that the stuffy queen knew nothing of her son’s secret, the gutsy lawyer broke protocol and went straight to the queen. The rest unfolded just like Hallmark fairy tales with the lawyer and then king, going on to live happily ever after.
Watching Prince Harry’s and Meghan Markle’s special day also evoked memories of a hot July evening in 1981 when my wife and I watched the rebroadcast of the nuptials of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, another storybook couple. Not. On the surface, that event had all the pomp that British citizens love, but in the end, the Fairy Tale ended in scandal, sadness and ultimately the tragedy that killed Princess Diana.
Nevertheless, that royal union produced Princes William and Harry and after Diana and Charles divorced, the world watched as Diana deftly raised her sons to become fine young men. Much as I have been impressed by what William and Kate have done, I’ll put my money on Prince Harry and his radiant Duchess of Sussex to shape a new monarchy and perhaps change the world.
Steven Gaynes is a Fairfield writer, and his “In the Suburbs” appears each Friday. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.