African-American bishop Michael Curry electrified the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with a barnstorming sermon on the power of love that won smiles in the ancient British chapel and praise across the internet.
Curry, the first black head of the Episcopal Church in the United States, started by quoting civil rights hero Dr Martin Luther King and powered on citing spirituals, medieval poetry and the experiences of slaves in the American south.
“There’s power in love. Don’t underestimate it. Don’t even over-sentimentalise it … If you don’t believe me, think about a time when you first fell in love,” he said at the start of an address that jolted the congregation after a long period of serene choral music and ceremony.
By the end, he was referring to Harry and Meghan as “my brother, my sister,” and telling them “God love you, God bless you” before the opening notes of the soul standard “Stand By Me” started up.
Meghan smiled throughout as Harry looked on intently.
“It was a moment for African-Americans. It was like we were at church. It was the word that love conquers all,” said Karen Long from Houston, Texas, who came to Windsor with her sister and friend, all dressed as bridesmaids.
“It was a perfect blend between her culture and the royal culture. As an African-American woman, it was made in heaven,” she said.
The reaction online was overwhelmingly positive.
“Quoting Dr. Martin Luther King from the altar of a British royal wedding. This sermon by Rev Michael Bruce Curry is very American, very boisterous, very passionate. Love it,” said New York Times reporter Katie Rosman on Twitter.
Karen Attiah, Global Opinions Editor of the Washington Post, called the whole wedding “an overt celebration of black American culture”.
“I wrote back in the fall that I didn’t think Meghan Markle was going to be very outspoken about race once she married into the royal family. Maybe she will prove me wrong?,” Attiah tweeted.
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