I really surprised myself. The thought of watching a royal wedding seemed unimaginable to me, but it happened. Interestingly enough, what drew me to it was the news of an African American clergy delivering the message in the Queen’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. But other things captured me.
The very thought of the Queen’s grandson daring to date, much less marry, a black woman or as she is described, mixed, said something about him. But, after all, he is the son of Princess Diana who began to give the monarchy a different face in the way she related to people, particularly through her work with charities.
Meghan is proud of who she is and has strong views on issues, like the empowerment of women and working with the underprivileged, particularly through charities.
Bishop Curry did not disappoint! He was fiery and even ‘folksy’ and brought a different flavour to the Queen’s chapel. He addressed them as ‘Brothers and Sisters’ and referred to slaves in captivity through one of their ‘spirituals’, proclaiming the redemptive power of love.
He opened and ended quoting Martin Luther King, “We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will be able to make of this old world a new world. Love is the only way.”Some persons were uncomfortable, but Harry and Meghan listened attentively, obviously enjoying it.
It was after all their wedding and that is what mattered. Some thought he was too long, but I yearned for more, saying to myself, “Give it to them, Curry.” His speech about love, inclusion, redemption, and civil rights, needed to be heard and millions around the world did so.
Harry was made youth ambassador to the Commonwealth and Meghan’s dress had flowers depicting the 53 countries, St Vincent’s Soufriere Tree being represented.
Meghan walked the first part of the journey down the aisle alone before being accompanied by Prince Philip. Her mother wore her dreadlocks partly hidden under her hat. Mother and daughter entered the compound knowing that the world was looking, many obviously hoping for some mis-step, but they moved with grace and confidence.
The Kingdom Choir with its 20 singers, led by Karen Gibson of Guyanese parentage, treated the gathering to the sound of Ben E King’s “Stand by Me” and 19 -year old cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, with Antiguan roots, added to that moment of real majesty.
The occasion was a blend of the traditional and modern.John Major, a former Prime minister, was there, but other political personalities were kept away. It is true that royal weddings always attract global attention, but there was something different about this one. America always regretted not having a monarchy, but would have gloried in the fact that the lady of the moment was American, muffled however by her blackness.
Many would have hated Curry’s presence and message, but life goes on.I wondered what impact this would have on blacks in England. I remembered how West Indians reacted whenever the West Indian cricket team flogged England at home.
They walked with their heads held high and with an extra spring in their step as they responded to British hypocrisy. But let us not be carried away. The monarchy has withstood centuries of war and the dismantling of empire.
It occasionally makes a bow to the modern age. Think of Obama, many felt his presidency would have impacted positively on race relations, but it gave birth to Trump and brought all the racists from their holes. Let us hope that this wedding puts a dent, even slight, on Royal smugness and entitlement.
As Curry neared the end he told the couple, “With this I will sit down. We’ve got to get you married.” Will the Queen’s chapel be the same after this infiltration?
Dr Adrian Fraser is a social commentator and historian