London, May 20, 2018 (AFP) – Prince Harry and his new wife Meghan began married life on Sunday after their spectacular, rule-breaking wedding, but will be delaying a honeymoon as they turn immediately to royal duties.
The newly ennobled Duke and Duchess of Sussex tied the knot in Saturday’s ceremony at Windsor Castle, where they were greeted by around 100,000 people lining the streets and watched by millions around the world.
The couple laughed and smiled as they drove a vintage Jaguar to their evening party hosted by Harry’s father Prince Charles, where actor Idris Elba reportedly took a turn as DJ.
Hollywood actor George Clooney and tennis star Serena Williams also attended the black-tie do for around 200 close family and friends, in a house in the grounds of the castle.
After stunning the crowds with a sweeping Givenchy gown during the ceremony, Meghan changed into a sleek Stella McCartney halterneck dress for the evening affair.
On her finger was a large aquamarine ring, which belonged to Harry’s late mother, Diana.
The couple will not be taking a honeymoon immediately, as they are due to attend a charity garden party for Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday.
Meghan and Charles have reportedly forged a strong bond, and he stepped in to escort her to the altar at the wedding after her own father pulled out following a media furore and subsequent heart surgery.
– ‘Symbolising modern Britain’ –
The wedding was like no other the royal family has ever staged, a mix of the pageantry that Britain does so well, and celebrity razzmatazz and African-American culture.
The couple held hands throughout, a gospel choir sang “Stand By Me” and US pastor Michael Curry delivered a passionate, lengthy address about the power of love, referencing slavery.
Meghan, a mixed-race television actress, also made her mark by walking up the aisle partly on her own, and giving a speech at the evening reception.
“Kisstory: Harry & Meg’s historic change for monarchy,” headlined The Sun on Sunday, with a photograph of the couple kissing on the steps of St George’s Chapel.
“If ever there was a wedding to symbolise modern, multi-cultural, multi-racial Britain, yesterday’s was it,” the Sunday Mirror wrote in an editorial.
“Disney could not have come up with a better princess,” said the Sunday Telegraph, while The Mail on Sunday simply said: “Harry ever after!”
– ‘Strong woman’ –
Harry and Meghan were due to return to their home at Kensington Palace in London after staying overnight in Windsor, a residence of Queen Elizabeth II.
The picturesque town was transformed into a sea of Union Jack flags for the wedding, with the world’s media mixing with thousands of well-wishers, many of whom camped out for days.
“Thank you to everyone who came to Windsor and those who followed from around the UK, the Commonwealth, and the world,” the royal family tweeted.
The new duchess previously expressed a desire to “hit the ground running” with her royal duties, and the designer of her dress, Givenchy’s Clare Waight Keller, said: “She knows what she wants.”
She said the bride had been “incredibly composed” before the ceremony, adding: “She’s exactly what you see on TV…. She’s a strong woman… and it was really an absolute joy working with her.”
As a member of the monarchy, Meghan now has her own section of the royal.uk website, which highlights her charity work — and plays down her acting career.
The section “About the Duchess of Sussex” notes her activism from an early age, as well as her work with UN Women, One Young World and World Vision, with only a passing reference to “filming in Toronto”.
Fans have to delve into the biography section for details about Meghan’s near 15-year career as an actress, including in hit US television series “Suits”, shot in Toronto.