WINDSOR, England — There are some things you come to expect from royal weddings: There will almost certainly be fabulously silly British hats, a horse-drawn carriage ride, and global media interest.
One thing you don’t expect: That sermon by the U.S. Bishop Michael Curry.
Curry, the first black leader of the Episcopal Church in the United States, delivered a 14-minute barnstorming address that people in Windsor and beyond were talking about long after Harry and Meghan officially tied the knot on Saturday afternoon.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle personally asked Curry to give an address in front of 600 guests at their wedding in St. George’s Chapel.
And did he ever. Curry was fiery, enthusiastic, passionate. He spoke in the style of black American preachers. He quoted Martin Luther King Jr.
"’We must discover the power of love, the power, the redemptive power of love,’” he said, quoting King. “‘And when we do that, we will make of this whole world a new world. But love, love is the only way.’”
Markle is a proud, biracial American who has spoken openly about her ethnicity, and her background wasn’t downplayed during the wedding. Sheku Kanneh-Mason, the 19-year-old cellist who played at their wedding, was the first black musician to win the BBC Young Musician of the Year Award. The Kingdom Choir, a Christian gospel group, sang a stirring rendition of “Stand By Me.”
But it was Curry’s sermon that especially stood out.
He talked about the power of love, poverty and slavery in the American south.
At one point, he said “We gotta get y’all married now.”
Some of the fun came from the BBC live televised report that included cutaways to royal family reactions of Curry’s sermon — capturing them either stone-faced, surprised or giving off a whiff of “so this is how our American cousins roll?”
And his speech lit up the Twittersphere with some saying it was a breath of fresh air, and others noting it highlighted transatlantic differences. Some, still, said he should have dialed it back.
Everyone agreed it was unforgettable, including the Rev. Rob Lee, a descendant of Confederate commander Robert E. Lee.