Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
London, United Kingdom (4E) – The dazzling royal marriage between bi-racial, divorced American TV star, Meghan Markle, and Prince Harry, sixth in line to the British throne, was also a moving demonstration of ethnic harmony unseen in the history of the British monarchy.
The whirlwind and fairytale romance between Markle and Prince Harry that began in July 2016 on a blind date came to fruition on May 19 when they exchanged marriage vows at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle to the delight of the British and millions of people worldwide.
The couple were bestowed the title, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, by Queen Elizabeth II. Markle is the first Duchess of Sussex in British history and the first bi-racial member of the Royal Family.
“You look amazing. I’m so lucky,” said Harry to Markle after he lifted her veil when they first met up at the altar.
Evidence of ethnic equality during the wedding was palpable. From the United States came the Most Reverend Michael Bruce Curry, the African-American 27th presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church in Chicago who delivered a deep and emotive sermon in which he cited Martin Luther King while calling for racial peace.
“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,” said Bishop Curry. “Love is the only way. There’s power in love. Don’t underestimate it. Don’t even oversentimentalize it. There’s power, power in love.”
Karen Gibson and the Kingdom Choir, a London-based gospel choir consisting of British-Africans, performed the song “Stand by Me,” as Harry and Kate sat holding hands and watching.
The longest moment came in the form of a nine-minute-long cello solo by 19-year-old Sheku Kanneh-Mason, who was born in Nottingham, England. Kanneh-Mason, called a “Cello Bae” by Esquire, made history at 17 years old when in 2016, he became the first black winner of the BBC’s Young Musician of the Year award since the competition premiered in 1978.
“I was bowled over when Ms. Markle called me to ask if I would play during the ceremony, and of course I immediately said yes,” said Kanneh-Mason. “What a privilege to be able to play the cello at such a wonderful event. I can’t wait!”
As expected, the fabulous guest list consisted of impeccably-dressed and coiffed British aristocracy and their friends; international celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney, David Beckham, Sir Elton John and Serena Williams, and friends of the couple among whom, oddly, were two of Prince Harry’s ex-girlfriends, Chelsy Davy and Cressida Bonas. A popular conversation piece were the hats and “fascinators” all the women invited to the event were ordered to wear.
Markle’s subdued boatneck wedding gown devoid of any embellishments or jewelry flaunted a hint of sexiness by exposing her shoulders, and her stunning white halter reception dress showed even more skin.
The wedding dress was designed by Givenchy’s first female artistic director, Clare Waight Keller, and “epitomizes timeless minimal elegance.” Kensington Palace said “the pure lines of the dress are achieved using six meticulously placed seams. The focus of the dress is the graphic open bateau neckline that gracefully frames the shoulders and emphasises the slender sculpted waist.”
After the lunchtime reception, Markle changed her Givenchy ceremony gown into a custom gown designed by Stella McCartney featuring a bespoke lily white high neck gown made of silk crepe, according to Kensington Palace. She has on Aquazurra high heels made in silky satin with the soles painted baby blue. Her hair was done in a low bun with loose waves and tendrils framing her face by George Northwood.
For the short ride from Windsor Castle to the reception at Frogmore House hosted by Prince Charles, the couple rode in a silver-blue Jaguar E-Type Concept Zero. Kensington Palace said that while the open topped sportscar was originally manufactured in 1968, it’s been converted to run entirely on electric power.
The next order of business for the newlyweds will be having a baby, and speculation abound the couple won’t rush into this.
Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland, who attended the wedding, is an African-American yoga instructor and social worker. Her father, Thomas, is white and is a Daytime Emmy Award-winning lighting director. Markle’s parents divorced when she was only six years-old.
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