Prince Harry and American actor Meghan Markle were married on Saturday in a much-anticipated ceremony, which supporters hope will help recast the 1,000-year-old monarchy for the 21st century.
The couple, who met on a blind date in 2016 and fell in love in a tent under the stars in Botswana, tied the knot at the 15th-century St George’s Chapel, in a castle that has been home to 39 English monarchs since 1066.
Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, officiated the union of Harry, 33, sixth-in-line to the British throne, and Meghan, 36, a divorcee whose mother is African-American and father is white.
The Dean of Windsor conducted the service, which included two hymns and a performance by the choir of soul classic “Stand by Me”.
Prince Harry told the Archbishop of Canterbury he would take Meghan to be his wife at a glittering display of royal pageantry. The American actress was dressed in a flowing white gown created by British designer Clare Waight Keller.
“I will,” Harry answered when asked by Justin Welby if he would take Markle to be his wife, to love her, comfort her, honour her and protect her. The declarations were followed by a reading and the address, delivered by black US bishop Michael Bruce Curry.
The couple then said their vows, exchanged rings — a Welsh Gold ring for Markle and a platinum band for Harry — before the archbishop proclaimed them husband and wife.
In departures from British royal custom, Harry wore a ring, while Markle did not vow to obey her husband.
Prince Harry had earlier arrived at Windsor Castle accompanied by his best man Prince William. He was staying at a hotel with his elder brother, whose daughter Charlotte and son George, were among the bridesmaids and page boys.
Meghan had arrived at the church with her mother, Doria Ragland, 61, with whom she had spent Friday night at a luxury hotel. The actress had entered the chapel unescorted, with 10 bridesmaids and pageboys — including Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
She was met by Prince Charles, who walked her down the aisle to Prince Harry. Her own father Thomas Markle, 73, a lighting director for TV soaps and sitcoms, pulled out this week, telling the US 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 had continued to appear in the order of service till the wedding took place.
The tiara worn by Markle, a diamond bandeau, was lent to her by the Queen, said Kensington Palace.
The Palace also revealed that her veil featured flowers from each Commonwealth country.