UPDATE: At 11:20AM UK time, the world got a quick glimpse at Meghan Markle, whose royal wedding to Prince Harry today is being watched around the globe, with networks going wall-to-wall to see the former US TV star get hitched. Markle was in the back of a Rolls Royce Phantom 4, seated next to her mother, and was visibly grinning under her veil. This was about 40 minutes before the ceremony, which began at noon.
Markle was later spotted driving down the long road to St. George’s chapel as a crowd of 100K cheered her along. Her intended arrived in the packed chapel (where he was baptized as a baby) at about 11:35 AM with his brother and Best Man, Prince William. They were followed by Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles, and, in short order, by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.
Markle arrived in earnest right on time and wearing a long-sleeved, simple, elegant Givenchy dress with a very long veil (reportedly embroidered with the flora of each of the 53 Commonwealth countries) and Queen Mary’s diamond bandeau tiara. She was greeted in the church by Prince Charles, whom the former Suits star had asked to walk her down the aisle in the absence of her father, who recently underwent heart surgery.
The first hymn was “Lord Of All Hopefulness,” and when Harry and Meghan were asked if they took one another, Harry’s “I will” elicited laughter from the congregation (unclear why at this point, but they were both beaming). After the exchange, Harry’s Aunt, Lady Jane Fellowes, who is the older sister of his late mother Princess Diana, gave a reading.
She was followed by the Most Reverend Michael Curry, who is the first black presiding bishop of the Episcopal church in the United States. He quoted Martin Luther King Jr: “We must discover the power of love, the power, the redemptive power of love, and when we do that, we will make of this old world a new world.” Within a few minutes, the enthusiastic bishop was trending on Twitter. He charmed the onlookers, including Oprah Winfrey, David Beckham, Elton John, and more. The TV feed we got in France cut often to the celeb attendees (none of whom were allowed to have cell phones on them).
A choir sang the Ben E King classic “Stand By Me” before Harry and Meghan exchanged vows and were officially proclaimed husband and wife. “Bread Of Heaven,” aka the Welsh rugby hymn, came next, as the newlyweds popped out to sign the wedding registry. During the interlude, the congregation was treated to a few songs from cellist prodigy Sheku Kanneh-Mason, who in February scored the biggest-selling British debut of the year with his classical album, Inspiration.
Before the royals exited the chapel, everyone sang “God Save The Queen.” When Harry and Meghan emerged, they shared a kiss for the cameras and the cheering crowd before hopping into a horse-drawn carriage, where Markle displayed she’s learned the royal wave.
Network and news channel coverage will continue as they make their way through Windsor. (Between this event, the FA Cup final, and the gorgeous weather, box office in the UK is going to take a hit today.)
Prince Harry will now become Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton, and Baron Kilkeel, while the erstwhile Rachel Zane will be Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex.