Prince Harry and Meghan Markle declared husband and wife

Britain’s Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle were pronounced husband and wife on Saturday by the Archbishop of Canterbury in a glittering union that brought a measure of modern Hollywood glamour into the 1,000-year-old monarchy.

While the ceremony incorporated the traditions of a monarchy that traces its history back to 1066, Markle brought a sense of modernity.

The star of the TV drama “Suits” walked unescorted in a pure white, long-sleeved dress to the middle of the 15th-century St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, where the heir to the throne, Prince Charles, accompanied her towards his son, waiting at the altar.

After exchanging vows to love and to cherish “till death us do part”, Harry, 33, sixth-in-line to the British throne, placed a ring of Welsh gold on Markle’s finger before a congregation including Queen Elizabeth, senior royals, and celebrities including US media mogul Oprah Winfrey.

“In the presence of God, and before this congregation, Harry and Meghan have given their consent and made their marriage vows to each other,” Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby intoned.

“They have declared their marriage by the joining of hands and by the giving and receiving of rings. I therefore proclaim that they are husband and wife.”

The marriage brings Markle, three years older than Harry and born and raised in Los Angeles, into one of the world’s grandest royal families, known as “the Firm”.

While the ceremony incorporated the traditions of a monarchy that traces its history back to 1066, Markle brought a sense of modernity.

A black US Episcopalian bishop, Michael Bruce Curry, gave the wedding address, while Lady Jane Fellowes, Diana’s sister, delivered the reading.

Prime Minister Theresa May, who along with other politicians was not invited to the wedding, sent good wishes to the couple, adding: “To all of those joining the national celebration with street parties and other events, have a wonderful day.”

In among traditional hymns, a choir performed American soul singer Ben E. King’s 1960s hit “Stand by me”.

After the ceremony, the newlyweds are expected to greet some of the 1,200 members of the public invited into the castle grounds before starting a carriage procession through Windsor.

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.

The British remain broadly supportive of the monarchy, albeit with a sense of mild irony about the pomp and pageantry that accompanies it, though most have deep respect for Queen Elizabeth after her 66 years of service as head of state.

Harry, along with brother William and his wife Kate, are at the forefront of efforts to modernize the monarchy by talking openly about their feelings.

“It is patently obvious – the more you say, the more you can be examined,” said royal historian Hugo Vickers. “Everything moves on gradually – but there are certain risks, and there is a lot to be said for maintaining the mystique.”