Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Cute Hugs For Soon To-Be Parents Prince Harry And Meghan Markle On Australia Tour Phil Noble - Pool/Getty Images

The world rejoiced when commoner Meghan Markle walked down the aisle of St. George’s Chapel with Prince Harry waiting at the altar. The context is taken straight out of a fairytale book, a prince marrying a girl not of royal blood. But the Sussex’s wedding speaks more than fairytales — it’s of history and hope.

When Prince Harry and Meghan wed last year, 50 million eyes were glued on their television screens, and the figures were from the United States alone. The numbers surpassed Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding in 2011, with 23 million viewers. Meghan’s career as an actress may have contributed to the popularity of their wedding.

But the Sussex’s wedding went beyond glamor and traditions conventional of a royal setting. Many applauded Prince Harry for defying the established customs of royal weddings. Being sixth in line to the British throne, he has more freedom to make decisions compared to his older brother, Prince William, who is second in line to the throne.

What makes Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding important and buzz worthy? The union of Prince Harry and Meghan opened a new era for the royal family and their customs. Listed below are the reasons why the Sussex’s wedding is different from the rest of the royal weddings.

1. Black culture dominated the royal ceremony

People know about Meghan being a mix race, half-American and half-African. As a bride, she was hands on in organizing her own wedding, and this is where the “Duchess Difficult” rumor began. What others are oblivious to is the extent of her decision.

Apparently, royal couple Prince Harry and Meghan Markle acknowledged black culture. A black pastor, Reverend Michael Curry, led the ceremony, accompanied by cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, first black musician to win the BBC Young Musician of the Year award, and the choir who sang black gospel classics “Stand By Me” and “This Little Light Of Mine.”

Pastor Curry gave a sermon on the history of slavery and civil right struggles in the United States. Curry cited a line from Martin Luther King on slavery and love.

The wedding put together people of different races and, even more, people of different statuses. The Queen was seated in the same room as Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, born to African-American family. It raised a few eyebrows as the British royal family has been once accused of racism for wrongly deporting immigrants and their descendants.

2. Meghan walked down the aisle to the quire by herself

Prince Charles took the place of Meghan’s father, Thomas Markle, in walking her down the aisle on her wedding day. He was unable to attend the historical wedding as he was in recovery after undergoing heart surgery.

What made this part of the wedding historical was that Prince Charles stopped halfway and did not give Meghan away. Instead, Meghan walked to the Quire of St. George’s Chapel by herself. A clear message is sent — the Duchess of Sussex is independent and assertive and not to be underrated. Some sources say, however, that walking down the aisle alone was Meghan’s way of honoring is father, who was not able to make it to her big day.

What makes this historical? No royal bride has ever walked alone to the quire.

3. The wedding was low key

Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding was simpler compared to Prince William and Kate’s in 2011. The choice of location, St. George Chapel, itself reflects how the royal couple wanted their wedding to be — low key.

However, the Sussex’s wedding was estimated to be $45 million, 10 million more expensive than the estimated cost of Prince William and Kate’s wedding, which is $34 million. Most of the expenses were allocated for the security of the VIPs.

4. Prince Harry and Meghan skipped the balcony kiss

The balcony kiss is what makes royal weddings iconic. The balcony kiss tradition started with Princess Diana and Prince Charles, but balcony photos began with Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II. The balcony is where royal couples usually kiss following a royal wedding ceremony since it is forbidden to kiss inside sacred places in England.

With Prince Harry and Meghan’s choice of location, it was inevitable for the couple to skip the balcony kiss since St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle does not have any balcony. The Sussex’s first kiss as a married couple took place just outside the chapel.

5. Commoners were invited to the event

The royal couple somehow broke down the royal barriers, at least for their wedding day. They invited 1,200 members of the public of different ages, races and backgrounds, highlighting the importance of diversity in the royal event.

The invitees, however, were not allowed to stay inside St. George’s Chapel but were allocated a place within the vicinity. The invitees were also requested to bring their own food, but refreshments and light snacks were provided.

Read “10 Ways Prince Harry And Meghan Markle’s Wedding Changed Royal History Part 2” here.

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