As sometimes ridiculous as the stuffy hoity-toityness of the British royal family and all of its pomp, circumstance, ceremony, and tradition can be at times, a wedding is a festive occasion, right? It doesn't matter that the guy getting married is sixth in line to the throne. Brits didn't even care that the woman he was marrying was (gasp) an American. The best part, is that no one seems to care that the American woman is bi-racial. It made for a great wedding.
Since I own a DVR, and watching baseball games and running errands on Saturday was more important than getting up at 4am (I do that during the week already), I didn't watch the event live. But 29.2 million Americans did—more than Prince William's marriage to Kate Middleton in 2011, and yes, more than Charles and Diana's wedding in 1981.
I recorded the CNN broadcast, and although Anderson Cooper didn't seem to have a clue about the Royal Family, or even where England was on the globe, he was surrounded by people who did, and during the one-hour 'pregame show', it was difficult to keep them from all talking at once. Not knowing how into this I was going to be, I hovered my finger firmly over the fast-forward button. I only seemed to use it when Cooper spoke, but watched in normal speed while live video of the procession from the castle to the church was shown, complete with the first glimpse of Meghan Markle's dress while she was in the car. Absurd, over-hyped, but still for some reason wildly entertaining.
Everybody gets to the church on time, Meghan Markle gets out the car, complete with a mile-long train, and the expected stuffiness begins. It's okay, it's tradition, even though there was a little break from it this time. Because Meghan's father was too ill to make the trip, her about-to-be father-in-law Prince Charles walked her down the aisle. The Queen, in her tennis-ball colored pant suit with matching hat, looked on, and so did all the other dukes, dutchesses, lords, ladies, earls, knights, Megan's mom, and for some reason Serena Williams. Elton John and David Beckham were there, too, but we kind of expected that.
The thing seemed to be zipping along. In only a couple minutes, they got in the “Do you Harry take thee Meghan” and vice-versa, but no vows yet. The late Princess Diana's sister did a poetry reading, and then a black preacher from Chicago, Bishop Michael Curry, gave a sermon on the power of love. (Honestly, I was waiting for the Huey Lewis and the News music to start during his speech, too, but it never came). Curry spoke with passion, verve, and true happiness. If it wasn't for the fact that he went on for about 13 minutes, it would have been awesome. You still knew, though, that the stuffed-shirt Britishness of the event was gone.
You might have been thinking to yourself, well maybe this was Meghan's preacher, or just her tough to get some color into the ceremony, but then something happened that couldn't have ever happened in Windsor before. You started to hear a Motown tune, and although it wasn't Ben E. King himself, the song was the one he made famous—Stand By Me. The forty-or-so member Kingdom Choir joined in, and you definitely knew this was the most unique wedding in St. George Chapel history.
The vows followed, the rings were exchanged, and the pronouncement was made. More traditional music and ceremony followed, then, while Harry and Meghan disappeared from view in another room for a few minutes, we got to hear ten minutes of cello music. Not sure why, but that's okay.
The married couple re-appeared, the crowd was on their feet, and to a rousing chorus of God Save the Queen, the procession led out of the chapel, and it wasn't until then that Harry got to kiss his bride. It was in public view, though, and the privileged few who were there went crazy.
The Royal family and Britain's fascination with them seems dumb, and especially since we don't have anything like that in America. But Americans seem fascinated with them too, especially now that an American has joined that family. Hopefully, the family and guests loosened up later. Maybe they even did the Hokey Pokey or the Chicken Dance. (Can you picture the Queen, or even Charles, doing that?) Those are always done at weddings aren't they? Even if they didn't, returning to a thousand year-old castle is pretty cool, and maybe watching the wedding was even worth getting up at 4am for.
No more: This figures to be the final royal wedding of Queen Elizabeth's lifetime. The next one is a generation away, likely with one of William and Kate's kids.
Would it kill ya?: None of the royals including Liz herself, seem to smile during the ceremony. Meghan's mom didn't either, which was disappointing.
Who was that?: Remember during William and Kate's wedding when some of us were distracted (including Harry) by Kate's sister Pippa? I don't think I was the only one looking at the attractive woman in the blue dress in the front row. It was Meghan's friend Jessica Mulroney, whose twin boys were the ones in charge of holding Meghan's train as she entered and exited the church.