WINDSOR, England (Reuters) – Prince Harry and his American bride Meghan set off on a carriage procession around the town of Windsor after marrying on Saturday in a dazzling ceremony in front of British royalty, celebrities and a global TV audience of millions.
The couple kissed on the steps of St George’s Chapel before climbing into a 19th-century open horse-drawn coach for a tour of Windsor, where tens of thousands of cheering well-wishers crammed the streets to catch a glimpse of the newlyweds.
Harry and Meghan were pronounced husband and wife at the chapel in the medieval Windsor Castle by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.
Their glittering union brings a measure of modern Hollywood glamour into the monarchy, reflected in a ceremony that combined modernity and the ancient rituals of a royal house that traces its line back to 1066.
Markle entered the chapel unescorted, dressed in a flowing white wedding gown created by British designer Clare Waight Keller and wearing a veil and diamond tiara.
Prince Charles, heir to the throne and Harry’s father, accompanied Markle to the altar from the middle of the chapel, with her father too ill to attend.
Harry, looking nervous, appeared to say: “Thanks Pa” to Charles and “You look amazing!” to his beaming bride. Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland, 61, shed tears. A gospel choir sang American soul singer Ben E. King’s 1960s hit “Stand by me”.
“There’s power in love,” black U.S. bishop Michael Bruce Curry told a congregation that included Queen Elizabeth, senior royals and celebrities such as U.S. mogul Oprah Winfrey, singer Elton John and former soccer star David Beckham.
“Do not underestimate it. Anyone who has ever fallen in love knows what I mean,” Curry told the congregation in an energetic, passionate address that quoted U.S. civil rights campaigner Martin Luther King.
The newlyweds will be known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, putting them in the senior ranks of British royalty.
Alongside tradition, there was innovation, by British royal standards. Markle, 36, did not vow to obey her husband; Harry, three years her junior, will wear a wedding ring – unlike other senior male royals.
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 the celebrity guests, American actor George Clooney and his wife Amal were joined by 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, Elton John, who sang at Diana’s 1997 funeral, British actor Idris Elba, and two of Harry’s ex-girlfriends.
The chapel was garlanded 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.”
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.