By: Cornelia Powell
The wedding celebration of Prince Henry of Wales and “princess-to-the-world” Ms. Meghan Markle was truly a “Windsor knot” of love and diversity, beauty and harmony, inclusion and passion, acted out on a world stage in perfect archetypal timing as only old souls on a spiritual mission can do. Lighting up the world for the rest of us!
I was touched by the news a few days before the wedding about the gracious gesture by the Prince of Wales (Harry’s beloved father and future king) accepting Meghan’s invitation, in the absence of her own father, to be her bridal escort. And it played out even more beautifully and mythically than could be imagined.
Meghan, confidently and joyfully on her own, entered St. George’s Chapel to the sound of trumpets on a sunlit noontime, carrying a small, sentimental bouquet of forget-me-nots and other delicate flowers picked by her groom the morning before in the gardens of Kensington Palace (where his late mother had lived and he now made a home with Meghan.) The radiant bride, in designer-sculpted shimmering white silk and the most feminine filigree diamond tiara—“something old and something borrowed” from the Queen—began her walk down the aisle as the voice of a lyrical soprano lifts in “light divine and glory” with two delighted pageboys holding up her floral-embroidered, nod-to-the-monarchy, long silk veil. As Prince Charles met her under the archway marking the end of the nave—lush with locally-gathered greenery and white flowers—offering his arm to escort Meghan through the Quire and the rest of the journey to the altar to stand beside his youngest son (“Thank you, Pa,” Harry acknowledges with a smile), it was as though the grand old patriarchy was bowing to the young goddess, honoring her lineage, and delivering her safely and gallantly to the far shore, where she would then help ignite a new world that genuinely knows of love.
Of course, the imagery of Meghan, a successful woman of experience and substance, self-assuredly walking down the aisle alone on her wedding day could be taken as a bold feminist statement, especially for a royal wedding—needing no one to hold her up, give her away, or speak for her—so any action otherwise would simply have been an outdated tradition. (Although an escort, how I consider it, could be appropriately offered, just as it was, as an act of courtesy and respect.) Nonetheless, what truly struck me as the defining moments of the day were these archetypal gestures by kindly menfolk: offering their attendant arm, handpicked flowers, and pure exuberance. The father, the groom, the boys; the past, the present, the future—giving of themselves in the most respectful, tender, even reverent way. After all, on some level I would wager, they knew this fresh wave of feminine consciousness now sweeping the world is the future we all long for…and this day represented its promise in every expression. There was something much deeper brewing here.
And the preacher-man got there—right down into the heart of the matter: the redeeming power of love! Quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Most Reverend Michael Bruce Curry, who traveled to Windsor from Chicago, declared that “love is the only way.” With soulful hand-gesturing passion, he reminded the audience (even the upper-crust British members, perhaps accustomed to their less emotional, don’t-knock-tradition way of doing things): “We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will make of this old world a new world. Love is the only way.” Going off-script, he mentioned some of the most horrific practices of the old patriarchy that denied love in the world—and had us squirming in our seats! But how else do you stir up the resistance, re-ignite the revolution, awake the ‘unwoke’ to the power of love?
Harry and Meghan are on a mission, accepting each other’s wedding request to “stand by me” as they lead their power-of-love revolution, taking on nothing less than changing the world. Their wedding-day ceremony, a reflection of their own mixed histories, included archbishops and reverends from various religions; guests from all backgrounds and locations; music from classical British composers, an American bluesman and a Welsh deacon—there were hymns, an orchestra and a gospel choir; readings from the Song of Solomon—the most sensuous of biblical references; a teenage cellist from Nottingham playing like an old master in the midst of royal Medieval heritage; there were the ancient and the possible. This gleaming day also included lots of handholding, “a room full of happiness,” and fiery love prophets; a proud and teary, independent, free-spirited mother-of-the bride as well as the fragrance of white garden roses arranged in memory of the groom’s own unforgettable mother. Then there were those gentlemanly gestures in honor of the emerging modern woman and the legacy she represents. There is indeed something deeper brewing here and we are all invited to the love revolution! ~
[Because there’s so much to savor, other memorable details of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding coming in the “Why Royal Weddings Matter” series, posted each Saturday.]
Wedding Folklorist, Fashion Historian, Author & Guest Speaker
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