The American princess made sure her royal wedding to Prince Harry celebrated her heritage
The American princess made sure her royal wedding to Prince Harry celebrated her heritage.
During the couple’s moving ceremony at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle on Saturday, various touches — from speech to song, clothing to the guests — paid tribute to the U.S., where Meghan Markle was born and raised and spent much of her adulthood prior to her fairytale engagement to Harry in late 2017.
As Harry and Meghan begin their new chapter as husband and wife, here are all the ways their royal wedding paid homage to the U.S.
1. Harry and Meghan’s American Reception Ride
The ceremony itself packed more grandeur than an episode of The Crown, but the beginning of the evening reception looked like a James Bond movie. Meghan, donning a sexy high-necked sleeveless halter gown by Stella McCartney, walked hand-in-hand with a tuxedo-clad Harry to a Jaguar E-Type Concept Zero convertible with the license plate E190618 — their wedding date — to head from Windsor Castle to Frogmore House. It all sounds quite British until you notice that the steering wheel is on the left side of the vehicle — the norm in the U.S. but far from typical in the U.K.
“Jaguar built all E-Types at its factory in England,” Travis Okulski, Road and Track digital director, told Marie Claire. “The steering wheel was on the left or right depending on where the car was intended to be sold; cars for England, Australia, Japan, etc would be on the right, U.S., Canada, continental Europe on the left.”
2. American Bishop Quotes Martin Luther King Jr.
Moments before Harry and Meghan delivered their vows, American Bishop Michael Bruce Curry honored Meghan’s American heritage when he quoted Martin Luther King Jr. in his moving wedding address.
“We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love,” he said in part, sharing the civil rights icon’s message from a sermon titled “Love Your Enemies,” which he delivered in Montgomery, Alabama, in November 1957. “And when we discover that, we will be able to make of this old world a new world. Love is the only way.”
Curry also discussed America’s history of slavery and racism. “I’m talking about some power. Real power,” he said of love. “Power to change the world. If you don’t believe me, well, there were some old slaves in America’s antebellum South who explained the dynamic power of love and why it has the power to transform.”
3. Gospel Choir Sings “Stand by Me”
The wedding’s uplifting sentiment was also captured in song, as gospel choir Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir performed American R&B classic “Stand by Me” before the Archbishop of Canterbury led Harry and Meghan’s vows. The romantic hit was originally released by singer-songwriter Ben E. King, and covers by Otis Redding, John Lennon and Florence + The Machine made it even more famous for multiple generations.
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4. Etta James’ “This Little Light of Mine” Is Played
After saying “I do,” Harry and Meghan walked out of the chapel and made their way to their carriage as Etta James’ version of “This Little Light of Mine” serenaded them via speakers. A hallmark anthem of America’s civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s, “This Little Light of Mine” was first released in the 1920s by Harry Dixon Loes and has received notable covers from Ray Charles and The Everly Brothers.
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5. Meghan’s Dress Is an Ode to American Royalty
Meghan, now officially the Duchess of Sussex, gave a nod to American royalty in her custom Givenchy wedding gown. Her wedding look captured the aura of Carolyn Bessette Kennedy’s understated yet elegant wedding dress by Narciso Rodriguez at her 1996 nuptials to John F. Kennedy Jr. — which Meghan has said is her favorite wedding moment.
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6. Meghan’s Mom Wears Oscar de La Renta
Doria Ragland, the bride’s American mother, opted for a stunning custom pale green dress and day coat designed by the creative directors of Oscar de la Renta, Fernanado Garcia and Laura Kim. The late Dominican-American fashion designer, who died in 2014, dressed several American first ladies throughout his storied rise to fashion-icon status.
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7. Cast of Popular American TV Show Reunites at Wedding
No, this isn’t an episode of Suits, but yes, several stars from the show — including Sarah Rafferty, Rick Hoffman, Gabriel Macht, Patrick J. Adams (joined by his American actress wife Troian Bellisario), Gina Torres, Abigail Spencer and Jacinda Barrett — were on hand to watch their former costar Meghan walk down the aisle. Meghan is now retired from acting, and the show will carry on without her, but the cast’s presence shows their bonds will likely outlast the USA Network’s hit TV show Meghan starred on from 2011 to 2018.
8. Part of the Bridal Party Is American!
If the spirit of a wedding lies in the people closest to the bride and groom, consider this wedding part American. Indeed, Meghan’s little bridesmaids and page boys not only included Prince George and Princess Charlotte, but also Meghan’s goddaughters, Remi Litt, 6, and her sister Rylan, 7, daughters of Benita Litt, L.A.-based brand curator and bag designer, and Darren Litt.
The celebration of Markle’s American heritage was foreshadowed by Queen Elizabeth‘s release of the Instrument of Consent, a written memento documenting Queen Elizabeth‘s approval of their union, on May 12 — one week before the royal wedding.
The document features several touching embellishments celebrating both Harry and Meghan’s backgrounds. Among the details honoring the U.S.: a rose, the national flower of the U.S.; two golden poppies, the state flower of Meghan’s home state of California; and olive branches, which are featured in the Great Seal of the United States, a design dating back to 1782.