Being an anglophile at heart, I delighted in watching the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. My first royal wedding was that of Princess Margaret to Anthony Armstrong Jones in May of 1960. I got up in the middle of the night for Charles and Diana - grand wedding in St. Paul’s Cathedral. The wedding of William and Kate was magnificent in the typical English choral tradition in Westminster Abbey.
However, I found Saturday's celebration of the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, utterly and completely charming with an element of elegant intimacy to it. St. George's Chapel at Windsor lends itself to a ‘slightly’ more intimate setting, if you could call this quintessential Tudor Gothic Chapel ‘intimate!’
It was clear that a great deal of time and care was spent in crafting the wedding liturgy. The music was particularly magnificent, from the prelude pieces that most of us didn’t hear but were listed in the Order of Service, to the stunningly gorgeous solo of G.F. Handel’s, “Eternal Source of Light Divine” to accompany the bride down the aisle in her understated elegant dress designed by the acclaimed British designer, Clare Waight Keller. Ms. Waight Keller last year became the first female Artistic Director at the historic French fashion house Givenchy. And the tiara, again, simply magnificent in its elegant simplicity!
It is clear that the English Hymn tradition is alive and well with virtually the entire congregation singing heartily the two major hymns with descants by the choristers, selected for the ceremony.
The Thomas Tallis, “If Ye Love Me” as a response to the reading was a beautiful bow to the great Anglican choral tradition with the fine choristers of this ‘royal peculiar.’
The homily by the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church here in the U.S., The Most Reverend Michael Curry, was rousing and fantastic. He spoke of the redemptive power of love. He preached that message with resounding vigor! While I’m not sure what the Queen thought, the recommendation of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the bridal couple to extend an invitation to Bishop Curry, was a wise one. He even quoted a Jesuit!
The inclusion of the Gospel choir singing, “Stand by Me,” was a wonderful touch.
While the newly wed couple, now their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, were signing the marriage registry, an unexpected delight was hearing the young virtuoso cellist, Sheku Kanneh Mason, perform three beautiful interludes.
I loved the selection of the 1st movement of the Boyce, Symphony 1, as the recessional.
What transformed the entire ceremony was the obvious love that Harry and Meghan have for one another. From the endearing looks, to the holding of hands (which is normally never done at royal weddings outside of the vows), to the first kiss on immediately exiting the royal chapel, it is clear that they are smitten with each other!
With the tragic news of yet another school shooting this past Friday morning and the ongoing depressive political scene here in our own country, there is nothing like a wedding to remind us of a renewed sense of hope that is always to be found in love.