Prince Harry and Meghan Markle kiss on the steps of St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle after their wedding in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Ben Birchall/Pool via REUTERS

WINDSOR, England (Reuters) – Britain’s Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle were pronounced husband and wife on Saturday by the Archbishop of Canterbury in a glittering union that brought a measure of modern Hollywood glamour into the 1,000-year-old monarchy. (See more photos at end of article.)

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.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip during the wedding service for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Jonathan Brady/Pool via REUTERS
Meghan Markle walks down the aisle as she arrives in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle for her wedding to Prince Harry in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Danny Lawson/Pool via REUTERS
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during their wedding service at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Jonathan Brady/Pool via REUTERS
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle kiss on the steps of St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle after their wedding in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Ben Birchall/Pool via REUTERS
The Most Rev Bishop Michael Curry, primate of the Episcopal Church, gives an address during the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Owen Humphreys/Pool via REUTERS
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle leave St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle after their wedding. Saturday May 19, 2018. Andrew Matthews/Pool via REUTERS
Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan ride a horse-drawn carriage after their wedding ceremony at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

After exchanging vows to love and to cherish “till death us do part”, 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 U.S. 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, three years older than Harry and born and raised in Los Angeles, into one of the world’s grandest royal families, known as “the Firm”.

While the ceremony incorporated the traditions of a monarchy that traces its history back to 1066, Markle brought a sense of modernity.

She did not vow to obey her husband; Harry, unlike other senior male royals, will wear a wedding ring; Markle’s father was unable to attend due to reported heart surgery; and a black U.S. Episcopalian bishop, Michael Bruce Curry, gave an impassioned wedding address on the “feeling-bomb” of love, quoting black U.S. civil rights leader Martin Luther King.

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

Tens of thousands of fans lined the route Markle took towards the castle, waving British flags and cheering as her Rolls-Royce limousine drove past.

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 the actress, star of the TV drama “Suits”, became a duchess when she married Harry.

SUNSHINE AND BEARSKINS

Under clear skies and glorious sunshine, a military band in scarlet uniforms and bearskin hats entertained excited fans gathered behind barriers. Police armed with semi-automatic rifles patrolling streets and watching from rooftops.

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

Other guests included tennis ace 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 favorite flowers.

“This is a moment when we can all celebrate the rebirth of the royal family,” said Kenny McKinlay, 60, who had come down from Scotland for the wedding. “It’s a time when all the nation can come together rather than being divided. It’s a day when you can be proud to be British.”

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.

Tens of thousands of fans crammed the narrow roads of Windsor, about 20 miles (30 km) west of London. Visitors had to pass through police search points set up around the castle.

To some Britons, the wedding of a senior member of the royal family to a divorcee whose mother is African-American and father is white embodied a modern Britain where race or background are no bar to even the most elite and traditional of institutions.

To others, it was an irrelevance or mild distraction from the schism of Brexit, which has deeply divided the United Kingdom; polls suggest that most Britons will not bother tuning in.

FATHER NOT PRESENT

Markle’s own father Thomas Markle, 73, a former lighting director for TV soaps and sitcoms, pulled out of the ceremony this week, telling the U.S. celebrity website TMZ he had had heart surgery on Wednesday.

Confusion over his attendance marred the build-up to the wedding, which had been choreographed for months by royal aides, and his name still appears in the order of service.

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.

A black U.S. Episcopalian bishop, Michael Bruce Curry, gave the wedding address, while Lady Jane Fellowes, Diana’s sister, delivered the reading.

Prime Minister Theresa May, who along with other politicians was not invited to the wedding, sent good wishes to the couple, adding: “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 are expected to greet some of the 1,200 members of the public invited into the castle grounds before starting a carriage procession through Windsor.

A reception will be held in the castle’s St George’s Hall before 200 guests join the couple at an evening event at the nearby Frogmore House mansion.

Harry and Meghan will carry out their first official engagement as husband and wife next week.

The British remain broadly supportive of the monarchy, albeit with a sense of mild irony about the pomp and pageantry that accompanies it, though most have deep respect for Queen Elizabeth after her 66 years of service as head of state.

Harry, along with brother William and his wife Kate, are at the forefront of efforts to modernize the monarchy by talking openly about their feelings.

“It is patently obvious – the more you say, the more you can be examined,” said royal historian Hugo Vickers. “Everything moves on gradually – but there are certain risks, and there is a lot to be said for maintaining the mystique.”

(Additional reporting by Cassandra Garrison, Estelle Shirbon, Marie-Louise Gumuchian and Costas Pitas; writing by Guy Faulconbridge and Michael Holden; editing by Kevin Liffey)

Police stand a vehicle barrier ahead of the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. REUTERS/Marko Djurica
Flowers adorn the front of the organ loft inside St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle for the wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle. May 19, 2018. Danny Lawson/Pool via REUTERS
Flowers and foliage surround the West Door and steps of St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle for the wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle. May 19, 2018. Danny Lawson/Pool via REUTERS
Well-wishers gather outside Windsor Castle on Castle Hill ahead of the wedding and carriage procession of Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Odd ANDERSEN/Pool via REUTERS
Members of the public pass a security screening as they arrive on castle hill ahead of the wedding and carriage procession of Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Odd ANDERSEN/Pool via REUTERS
People gather at Windsor Castle ahead of the wedding of Britain’s Prince Harry to Meghan Markle, in Windsor, Britain May 19, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville/Pool
A general view of St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle ahead of the wedding of Prince Harry to Ms Meghan Markle at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018 in Windsor, England. Chris Jackson/Pool via REUTERS
The service sheet for the wedding of Britain’s Prince Harry to Meghan Markle is shown ahead of the ceremony in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville/Pool
Oprah Winfrey arrives at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle for the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. Saturday May 19, 2018. Ian West/Pool via REUTERS
Singer James Blunt arrives with his wife Sofia Wellesley to the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville/Pool
Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer and his wife, Countess Spencer arrive with guests to of the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville/Pool
Idris Elba (second from left) and Oprah Winfery (second from right) arrive at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle for the wedding of Megan Markle and Prince Harry in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Andrew Milligan/Pool via REUTERS
Idris Elba and Sabrina Dhowre arrives at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle for the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. Saturday May 19, 2018. Gareth Fuller/Pool via REUTERS
Tom Inskip arrives at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle for the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Ian West/Pool via REUTERS
Idris Elba and Sabrina Dhowre followed by Oprah Winfrey (fourth right) arrive at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle for the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. Saturday May 19, 2018. Chris Radburn/Pool via REUTERS
Lady Kitty Spencer arrives at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle for the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. Saturday May 19, 2018. Gareth Fuller/Pool via REUTERS
Pippa Middleton and her husband James Matthews arrive for the wedding ceremony of Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and US actress Meghan Markle at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Odd ANDERSEN/Pool via REUTERS
Chelsy Davy arrives at the wedding of Prince Harry to Ms Meghan Markle at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Chris Jackson/Pool via REUTERS
Carol and Michael Middleton arrive with family members to the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville/Pool
Actress Cressida Bonas arrives at the wedding of Prince Harry to Ms Meghan Markle at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Chris Jackson/Pool via REUTERS
Eliza Spencer, Louis Spencer, Victoria Aitken and Kitty Spencer arrive at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle for the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018.Chris Radburn/Pool via REUTERS
James Haskell and Chloe Madeley arrive at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle for the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Gareth Fuller/Pool via REUTERS
Sir Clive Woodward and Jayne Williams arrive at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle for the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Gareth Fuller/Pool via REUTERS
David and Victoria Beckham arrive to the wedding of Britain’s Prince Harry to Meghan Markle in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville/Pool
Amal Clooney and George Clooney arrive at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle for the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. Saturday May 19, 2018. Gareth Fuller/Pool via REUTERS
David Beckham and Victoria Beckham arrive at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle for the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Gareth Fuller/Pool via REUTERS
David and Victoria Beckham talk with Sir Elton John and David Furnish as they arrive in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Danny Lawson/Pool via REUTERS
Giada Lubomirski and Alexi Lubomirski arrive at the wedding of Prince Harry to Ms Meghan Markle at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Chris Jackson/Pool via REUTERS
Suits actor Gabriel Macht arrives with his wife Jacinda Barrett to the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville/Pool
Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra (2nd L) arrives with other guests to the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville/Pool
Meghan Markle’s friend, US tennis player Serena Williams (CL) and her husband US entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian (CR) arrive for the wedding ceremony of Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and US actress Meghan Markle at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor, on May 19, 2018. Odd ANDERSEN/Pool via REUTERS
The Duchess of York arrives at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle for the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Gareth Fuller/Pool via REUTERS
A general view of guests arriving in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Dominic Lipinski/Pool via REUTERS
Meghan Markle departs for her wedding to Britain’s Prince Harry, in Taplow, Britain, May 19, 2018. REUTERS/Darren Staples
Britain’s Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, (2L) arrives with Britain’s Sophie, Countess of Wessex, (R) and James, Viscount Severn (L) and Lady Louise Windsor (2R) followed by Britain’s Princess Anne, Princess Royal, (top R) and Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence (top L) arrive for the wedding ceremony of Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and US actress Meghan Markle at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor, on May 19, 2018. Odd ANDERSEN/Pool via REUTERS
Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, arrives with his best man Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, at the West steps of St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Ben STANSALL/Pool via REUTERS
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth arrives for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville/Pool
Prince Harry, accompanied by his best man the Duke of Cambridge, arrives in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle ahead of his wedding to Meghan markle wedding in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Dominic Lipinski/Pool via REUTERS
Queen Elizabeth II arrives at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle for the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. Saturday May 19, 2018. Gareth Fuller/Pool via REUTERS
US actress Meghan Markle arrives for the wedding ceremony to marry Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Ben STANSALL/Pool via REUTERS
Meghan Markle arrives at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle for her wedding to Prince Harry in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Chris Radburn/Pool via REUTERS
Meghan Markle arrives at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle for her wedding to Prince Harry in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Andrew Matthews/Pool via REUTERS
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle for their wedding in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Dominic Lipinski/Pool via REUTERS
Prince Harry looks at his bride, Meghan Markle, as she arrives accompanied by the Prince of Wales in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle for their wedding in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Jonathan Brady/Pool via REUTERS
The Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge take their seats in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle ahead of the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Jonathan Brady/Pool via REUTERS
Prince Harry looks at his bride, Meghan Markle, as she arrives accompanied by the Prince of Wales in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle for their wedding in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Jonathan Brady/Pool via REUTERS
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle during their wedding service in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Jonathan Brady/Pool via REUTERS
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle during their wedding service, conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Owen Humphreys/Pool via REUTERS
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle during their wedding service in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Owen Humphreys/Pool via REUTERS
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle during their wedding service in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Owen Humphreys/Pool via REUTERS
The Prince of Wales leads Meghan Markle up the aisle of St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle for her wedding to Prince Harry in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Dominic Lipinski/Pool via REUTERS
Prince Harry places the wedding ring on the finger of Meghan Markle during their wedding service in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Jonathan Brady/Pool via REUTERS
The Duchess of Cambridge arrives with the bridesmaids at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Jane Barlow/Pool via REUTERS
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle exchange vows in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle during their wedding service, conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Owen Humphreys/Pool via REUTERS
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle during their wedding service, conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Dominic Lipinski/Pool via REUTERS
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle during their wedding service, conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. Dominic Lipinski/Pool via REUTERS

On Twitter:

Prince Harry’s former girlfriend, Zimbabwean Chelsea Davy’s face at the wedding has become an instant meme:

MORE

The Royal Wedding jokes and memes