I have always loved stories about princes and princesses, about Sleeping Beauty and Prince Charming, fairy godmothers, and even about wicked witches. They start with “once upon a time” and end “happily ever after.” No matter the evil in the story, it always ends well.
Oh, if only the real world were like that.
I don’t think anyone ever outgrows these whimsical tales. Even if life has proven time and again that forever does not exist, I have always kept it deep in my heart, and at this age still contemplate on it as a “possible possibility.” Why not?
And because my heart is full of what my friend calls “silly romantic nonsense,” I woke up at 4:30 a.m., in Atlanta to watch a modern fairy tale unfold.
Once upon a time
It all started with a blind date. And it grew deeper while on a safari and even as they crisscrossed the globe to fulfill commitments and played hide-and-seek with paparazzi.
Eight days ago, to the delight of their millions of followers around the world, it all came to a glorious completion in St. George’s Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle.
I am not a morning person. I craved coffee, but it was too early to invade the kitchen. So I feasted on my favorite coffee nips instead. I sat up in bed propped by fluffy down pillows and joined the several million televiewers watching CNN.
Windsor Castle provided a stunning background for the mega media event of the year, the wedding of Prince Harry, sixth in succession to the British throne, and Meghan Markle, an American. A royal heir and a commoner. How romantic is that!
From the night before, over a hundred thousand people had set up camp along the route that leads to the historic chapel. They brought along picnic baskets and blankets, and patiently waited for history to happen.
As the time drew nearer, the excitement grew. When the celebrity guests started to arrive, it got noisy. Loud whistles and wild applause greeted the likes of George and Amal Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, Serena Williams and Elton John.
A jubilant roar hailed the arrival of the two princes clad in their fancy formal military uniforms. There they were at last—William, who stood as his brother’s best man, and Harry, visibly nervous and beaming with excitement. The brothers waved warmly to acknowledge the affectionate reception accorded them by the spectators.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip arrived shortly after. The longest reigning monarch in the history of the kingdom wore a bright lemon and lime silk outfit with a matching hat, and her traditional black Launer handbag.
Trivia: According to historian Hugo Vickers, there is an unspoken language, a secret code, between the Queen and her staff by way of her pricey purse.
If she shifts it from one hand to the other, it means she is done talking to whoever it is, and one of her staff is tasked to promptly and politely put an end to the chat.
If the Queen puts her bag on the table, she wants to leave in five minutes. And if she places it on the floor, it signifies an urgent order for immediate rescue.
Back to the wedding.
Meghan Markle rode to the chapel in a burgundy Rolls Royce with her mother Doria Ragland, who wore a pale green embroidered dress, matching summer coat and a small hat.
I can only imagine those last few moments with her daughter in the car. What were her thoughts? Did they talk?
Several times during the ceremony, Doria’s eyes welled up. She looked pensive, with a wistful smile.
Breath of fresh air
Writers from all over the world have weighed in on the Harry-Meghan romance. Many describe her as a breath of fresh air that has suddenly blown into the stuffy British monarchy.
A few have criticized the abrupt change in traditional royal pomp and pageantry.
I love it.
Picture it. The bride is an American actress. Divorced. Biracial. She wears a simple no-frills Givenchy gown. Her prince has handpicked forget-me-nots for her bouquet—his mum’s favorite.
She walks into the chapel alone. Smiling. Confident.
Halfway down the aisle, Prince Charles meets her and offers his arm. Welcoming. Fatherly, even.
At the altar, the prince can hardly wait. He has eyes only for his bride. Smitten. They smile. He whispers. She blushes. And they hold hands.
An all-black choir sings “Stand By Me.” It is difficult not to dance.
The message by the Reverend Michael Bruce Curry is passionate. Many are seen wiping a tear or two. A few others maybe squirm in their seats.
“We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will make of this old world a new world.
“Love is the only way. There’s power in love. Don’t underestimate it. Don’t even over sentimentalize it. There’s power in love.”
After a long kiss on the steps of St. George’s Chapel, the newlyweds start their traditional ride in an open carriage to the delight of an ecstatic crowd.
There you have it. Harry and Meghan—my favorite kind of story. It has all the markings of “happily ever after.”