The royal wedding of Prince Harry and actress and Suits star Meghan Markle drew millions of viewers on Saturday, as the world watched the couple exchange vows in an internationally televised ceremony.
Just before hours before their wedding ceremony began, the world learned that Queen Elizabeth II had conferred the titles of Duke and Duchess of Sussex to the couple.
Markle and her mother, Doria Ragland, left the Cliveden House Hotel to travel to the wedding by a carriage on Saturday morning. The festivities began promptly at 7 am EST, and Markle arrived to St. George’s Chapel right on time.
The bride instantly wowed the crowd outside of the chapel upon arrival when she stepped out of the vintage car wearing a modest white bridal gown designed by Givenchy’s Clare Waight Keller and a lovely 16-foot cathedral wedding veil. Her choice of designer seemed fitting for Markle, who identifies as feminist. Keller is Givenchy’s first female artistic director.
In keeping with tradition, and royal protocol, Markle, 36 paid homage to her husband’s family by wearing a tiara from the Queen’s personal collection. She chose the Queen Mary Diamond Bandeau.
Markle’s father could not walk her down the aisle because he is recovering from heart surgery, so instead, she chose to walk solo for most of her entrance in a bold statement of her independence and strength. Her new father-in-law, Prince Charles, joined her for the remaining walk to her groom.
Reverend Michael Curry, the first African-American to preside over Episcopal Church, gave a moving sermon during the ceremony that touched on the Black experience in America and the importance of love. Curry quoted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and brought many in the crowd, including the groom and Markle’s mother, to tears.
“There’s power in love,” Curry told the crowd, as the cameras zoomed in on many guests nodding in agreement.
Before The Duke and Duchess exchanged their wedding vows, Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir sang a beautiful rendition of the classic “Stand By Me,” by Ben E. King.
After their vows and pronouncement as husband and wife, 19-year-old star cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason played for the newlyweds.
As the couple exited the chapel, the gospel choir sang “Amen” and “This Little Light Of Mine.”
In keeping with tradition, the couple departed the castle to parade by horse-drawn carriage through the streets of Windsor for their procession. They greeted thousands of joyful and cheering onlookers who had begun lining up and camping out days in advance to secure their spots to witness the couple’s history-making moment.
The wedding guest list was full of A-list celebrities, including Idris Elba and his fiancée, Sabrina Dhowre, and Serena Williams, her husband Alexis Ohanian and their newborn daughter.