The second biggest wedding of the century took place this afternoon, when Prince Harry married Ms. Meghan Markle at St George’s Chapel, Windsor. The couple emerged from the Chapel as Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Guests started to arrive at the ceremony as early as 0930. The Royal Family was out in force for the ceremony, with senior members including The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, and The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in attendance.
Today marked the first public appearance of The Duchess of Cambridge since the birth of Prince Louis; today’s ceremony was also the first official appearance of Prince Philip since his hip operation last month, although he had been spotted on several occasions at the Royal Windsor Horse show alongside his wife.
Her Majesty was wearing a lime-lemon and lavender outfit and joined hundreds of excited guests awaiting the bride’s arrival. The bride, Meghan, arrived at Windsor Castle in a car with her mother, Doria Ragland. Doria wore a matching green dress and coat; she arrived at the Chapel ahead of her daughter and the Queen. Doria then left her daughter and travelled to St George’s Chapel alone, sitting with Meghan’s close friends during the ceremony.
Some of the bridesmaids and pageboys arrived by car with their mothers – including The Duchess of Cambridge; the bridesmaids wore white dresses with flower crowns, while the pageboys were in outfits matching Prince Harry and Prince William. With just children in the bridal party, Catherine and Meghan’s friends, including Jessica Mulroney, helped to keep the young bridal party in order as they arrived at the Chapel.
Meghan arrived in a car with two of her pageboys, John and Brian Mulroney; the two boys helped her up the Westdoor stairs and carried her impressive veil up the aisle as she entered the Chapel. The biggest fashion moment of the year was revealed when Meghan stepped out of the car in a minimalistic dress by Givenchy designer Claire Waight Keller; although Givenchy is a French fashion house, Claire is British. Her long veil was held in place with Queen Mary’s diamond bandeau tiara, which was lent to her by The Queen; the tiara was made in 1932 with a centre brooch from 1893.
At noon, the bride walked halfway down the aisle on her own; Prince Charles met his future daughter-in-law at the Quire and accompanied her the rest of the way to meet her groom. Prior to Meghan’s entrance, Prince Harry looked extremely nervous as he awaited his bride. The bride walked through the Chapel to George Fredrick Handel’s ‘Eternal Source of Light Divine’. Meghan was followed up the aisle by her bridesmaids and pageboys, including Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
The service began with the reading of the hymn ‘Lord of all Hopefulness’, before the bride and bridegroom made their declarations to one another. Both Harry and Meghan were asked if they would love, comfort, honour and protect one another, forsaking all others and to be faithful as long as they lived; Harry replied with a strong, “I will” causing a few giggles from the congregation.
There was a reading by Prince Harry’s maternal aunt, Lady Jane Fellowes, from the Song of Solomon. An address was then given by The Most Reverend Michael Bruce Curry, the 27th Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church. He quoted Martin Luther King Jr., saying: “We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love, and when we do that we will make of this old world a new world … Love is the only way.”
He then joked: “Two young people fell in love and we all turned up!”. Near the end of his address, Michael then proclaimed: “I’m going to sit down, we gotta get ya’ll married!” This was followed by a rendition of “Stand By Me” by the Kingdom Choir.
Then came the most important part of the ceremony – the vows. Harry and Meghan chose to use their personal names, Harry and Meghan, rather than their given names (Henry and Rachel) during the vows. Harry said to his bride: “I, Harry, take you, Meghan, to be my wife, to have and to hold from this day forward; for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us do part; according to God’s holy law. In the presence of God I make this vow.”
Then placing a ring on Meghan’s finger, Prince Harry recited the words: “I give you this ring as a sign of our marriage. With my body I honour you, all that I am I give to you, and all that I have I share with you, within the love of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” Meghan’s ring is fashioned from a piece of Welsh Gold, gifted by The Queen.
Prince Harry has chosen to break with royal tradition and wear a wedding ring; Harry’s band is a platinum band with a textured finish. His brother, The Duke of Cambridge, chose not to wear a wedding ring when he married Catherine. The Duke of Edinburgh does not wear a wedding band either, while Prince Charles wears his on his pinky finger. Both Harry and Meghan’s rings were made by Cleave and Company.
Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, declared the couple husband and wife; cheers from the crowds were heard in St George’s Chapel, adding to the wonderful atmosphere. Harry and Meghan are now officially known as The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Earl and Countess of Dumbarton in Scotland and Baron and Baroness of Kilkeel in Northern Ireland. The Archbishop then blessed the marriage, saying: “Pour out the abundance of your blessing upon Harry and Meghan in their new life together. Let their love for each other be a seal upon their hearts and a crown upon their heads.”
This was followed by the hymn ‘Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer’; this hymn was played at the funeral of Harry’s mother, Princess Diana. The couple then left the Quire with the bride’s mother, Doria, and the Prince of Wales to sign the register. During this time, the cellist prodigy Sheku Kanneh-Mason performed Apres un Fevre for the congregation; Meghan telephoned Sheku personally to ask him to perform at the wedding.
The bride and groom returned to the Quire with their bridesmaids and pageboys; the ceremony ended with the singing of the national anthem. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex then walked down the aisle to the sound of Symphony No1 in B-Flat and This Little Light of Mine by Etta James, before embarking on a 25-minute carriage ride through Windsor and down the Long Walk.
As they exited the church, the couple gave the crowds what they were waiting for – a love-filled kiss!The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will later celebrate with close friends and family at Frogmore House, where they will enjoy a slice of lemon and elderflower cake, in a step away from the traditional royal fruit cake.
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