Prince Harry and Meghan Markle marry at Windsor Castle

Ceremony saw break from tradition as bride did not vow to obey her husband

Britain's Prince Harry has married American actress Meghan Markle in a lavish ceremony at Windsor Castle. Video: Reuters

 

Britain’s Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle were pronounced husband and wife on Saturday by the Archbishop of Canterbury during a ceremony that brought a measure of Hollywood glamour into the 1,000-year-old monarchy.

Markle, the star of the TV drama Suits, walked unescorted in a pure white, long-sleeved dress to the middle of the 15th-century St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, where the heir to the throne, Prince Charles, accompanied her towards his son, waiting at the altar.

After exchanging vows to love and to cherish “till death us do part”, Prince Harry (33), sixth-in-line to the British throne, placed a ring of Welsh gold on Markle’s finger before a congregation including Queen Elizabeth, senior royals, and celebrities including US media mogul Oprah Winfrey.

“In the presence of God, and before this congregation, Harry and Meghan have given their consent and made their marriage vows to each other,” Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby intoned.

“They have declared their marriage by the joining of hands and by the giving and receiving of rings. I therefore proclaim that they are husband and wife.”

The marriage brings Markle (36), who was born and raised in Los Angeles, into one of the world’s grandest royal families.

She did not vow to obey her husband; Harry, unlike other senior male royals, will wear a wedding ring; and a black US Episcopalian bishop, Michael Bruce Curry, gave an impassioned wedding address on the “feeling-bomb” of love, quoting US civil rights leader Martin Luther King.

“When love is the way, we actually treat each other like we are actually family,” he said.

Fans

An estimated 100,000 fans lined the route Markle took towards the castle, waving British flags and cheering as her Rolls-Royce limousine drove past. Visitors had to pass through police search points set up around the castle.

Air traffic controllers for the nearby Heathrow Airport, one of the world’s busiest, closed the airspace over Windsor for the 15 minutes before the ceremony.

Hours before, Queen Elizabeth had bestowed the title of Duke of Sussex on her grandson, a step that meant Markle became a duchess when she married Harry.

Among the celebrity guests were actor George Clooney and his wife Amal, former soccer star David Beckham, his fashion designer wife Victoria and James Corden, British host of the US TV chat show The Late Late Show.

Other guests included tennis player Serena Williams, the siblings of Harry’s late mother Princess Diana, singer Elton John, who sang at Diana’s 1997 funeral, British actor Idris Elba, and two of Harry’s ex-girlfriends. The chapel was adorned with white roses, Diana’s favourite flowers.

The royal couple, who met on a blind date in 2016 and fell in love in a tent under the stars in Botswana, tied the knot in a castle that has been home to 39 English monarchs since 1066.

Markle’s father, Thomas Markle (73), a former lighting director for TV soaps and sitcoms, pulled out of the ceremony this week, telling US celebrity website TMZ he had had heart surgery. Confusion over his attendance marred the build-up to the wedding, which had been choreographed for months by royal aides.

The service was conducted by the Dean of Windsor with Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury and spiritual head of the Anglican Church, overseeing the exchange of vows.

Politicians

British prime minister Theresa May, who along with other politicians was not invited to the wedding, sent good wishes to the couple.

“To all of those joining the national celebration with street parties and other events, have a wonderful day.”

In among traditional hymns, a choir performed American soul singer Ben E. King’s 1960s hit Stand by me.

After the ceremony, the newlyweds greeted some of the 1,200 members of the public invited into the castle grounds before starting a carriage procession through Windsor.

Harry and Prince Charles made speeches at the lunchtime reception hosted by the Queen at St George’s Hall. Harry’s best man and brother, the Duke of Cambridge, acted as compere.

Harry drove his new wife from Windsor Castle in a silver blue classic convertible Jaguar E-Type Concept Zero to a black-tie wedding dinner staged at Frogmore House for 200 of the couple’s closest friends and family.

The royal family expressed gratitude to all those who enjoyed the wedding, saying on its official Twitter account: “Thank you to everyone who came to Windsor and those who followed from around the UK, the Commonwealth, and the world today. Congratulations once again to the newly-married Duke and Duchess of Sussex. #royalwedding.”

The couple will carry out their first official engagement as husband and wife next week. - Reuters