Meghan’s a megastar from her tiara to her ivory slippers
She’s a megastar from her tiara to her ivory slippers: RACHEL JOHNSON on the magic of Meghan
Most brides blub a little bit on their wedding day, especially as they go down the aisle on the arms of their beloved old dads.
Many go a bit wobble-jawed and runny-nosed – the family feuds, the endless wedmin and the starvation diet in the run-up to the Big Day can all be a bit much.
But not this bride. At St George’s Chapel yesterday, at 12 noon onwards, this country’s exquisite latest acquisition – and most welcome newcomer – was utterly radiant in her starring role.
It was the performance of a lifetime, as if her entire career as an actress born in the city of dreams was nothing but a dress rehearsal.
At St George’s Chapel yesterday, at 12 noon onwards, this country’s exquisite latest acquisition – and most welcome newcomer – was utterly radiant in her starring role
From the moment Rachel Meghan Markle unfurled like a spring fern from the Rolls-Royce, unravelled her gauzy train and somehow managed to glide up the steps to the nave…
From the moment she processed to the High Altar on the arm of the Prince of Wales to the celestial strains of a soprano singing the introit…
And from the moment she made her vows in the presence of God (and Elton John and George Clooney) and emerged the Duchess of Sussex and a fully paid-up member of the Firm, she did not put a pointy, ivory-slippered foot wrong.
Just one glance at her million-dollar smile confirmed her joy, and triumph, at her historic and immaculate entry into the immortal chronicle of our island story.
Her expression told us that, if to be born British is first prize in the lottery of life, well, to be marrying a handsome, fresh British Prince on a sunny spring day at Windsor Castle, in the presence of the top brass of the Royal Family – and your own, precious, Mom – is the rollover, superball jackpot. This was more than a nice day for a white wedding. It was absolutely ruddy perfect.
Just one glance at Meghan’s million-dollar smile confirmed her joy, and triumph, at her historic and immaculate entry into the immortal chronicle of our island story. (Above, in her carriage after the service)
Of course, the run-up to Harry and Meghan’s excellent adventure yesterday was not without drama, from the no-show of all but one of the bride’s family to the fact that the former actress’s troublesome half-sister really did ‘break a leg’ before the big show.
But, somehow, after feverish days of Markle Debacle, we all knew it would be all right on the night and that the gods would smile on the magical modern marriage.
It would all come seamlessly together at noon, in the presence of the Queen, the Archbishop of Canterbury and many hundreds of guests, Royal ticket-holders and the billions watching all over the world. And Allelujah – so it did.
For one hour, at least, even the most cynical Republicans must have felt a batsqueak of pride to be British again (after our official ‘difficult’ few years since the 2012 Olympics), and this is not just because we do Royal Weddings and ceremonial so well. It was because of the bride.
What we saw yesterday is how fast Prince Harry’s brand new wife is proving to be a precision-tooled part of the nation-making machinery that is the Royal Family.
After feverish days of Markle Debacle, we all knew it would be all right on the night and that the gods would smile on the magical modern marriage
Indeed, though the celebrations must have cost Her Majesty quite a few bob, Meghan should be whacking in a huge invoice to the Firm for doing such a service to them in terms of profile, PR, modernising its image in the age of #MeToo and diversity targets.
The swaying gospel choir, Bishop Michael Curry’s powerful sermon, the way that the service was a power ballad to the power of love and also black power from start to finish: there’s no denying that Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, in the casting of the service alone, has done more to revolutionise the British Monarchy than anyone since her own late mother-in-law.
It was almost as if some execs had been trying to refresh a long-running telly soap, one that had been slipping in the ratings. ‘Hey guys, we need to mix this up a bit,’ the director might have said.
‘We need to introduce a really relatable cute new character who’s going to make this show watchable and relevant to our audiences both sides of the pond for the next 100 years.’
The show could have come up with nothing more box-office and ‘appropriate’ than Meghan: divorced, biracial, beautiful, actor, from (like Harry) a broken home, with a bonkersly dysfunctional family: therefore a choice of bride who in many ways reflects British society far better than the virginal, posh, blonde daughter of a belted earl or a horse-faced German princess, the sort of women our male Royals were traditionally yoked to in days of yore.
It’s easy to overstate her symbolic power, however.
What we also saw yesterday is that her perfect fitness for the role is also accidental. Yesterday, she was simply a woman in love.
As Meghan joined him at the altar, Prince Harry’s pride that he’d pulled quite such a cracker was written all over his face. ‘You look amazing,’ he said. ‘I’m totally stunned.’ Prince William was equally overcome.
Lucky, then, he’d picked Meghan. She helped him with the ring. She listened with eager respect to the sermon, with its incantatory cadences of the Bible and the spiritual, which we all saw had other members of the Royal Family doing side-eye in slight alarm. She even held it together when Bishop Michael Curry more completely stole her show than Pippa did at William and Kate’s do, when @pippasbum had its own Twitter account before the service had finished.
It’s also easy to overplay her character arc. She is the skinny kid who became the superstar from telly show Suits, from Los Angeles to Royal Palace, the mixed-race duckling who became the Royal Duchess.
But just look at her. Watch her. She was born to play this part, of Hollywood British Royal Princess.
She is not like her late mother- in-law – camera-shy, but camera-ready – and thank God for that.
Her composure, professionalism, humour, and poise are exactly the qualities she needs and exactly the right ones to bring to the Royal party.
It was an astonishing, transformational hour in which a woman born to a black mother in LA emerged from an English church a Royal Duchess to national and international rejoicing.
It was a sight the country has never seen anything like before, but after the Windsor wedding of Meghan and Harry, could quite easily see again.
I wish them every happiness.
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