Britain basks in royal wedding afterglow; grave gets bouquet
LONDON — Unwilling to kiss Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding goodbye just yet, Britain basked Sunday in the scale of the spectacle as major broadcasters kept scenes from the royal nuptials on repeat along with fresh interviews with the bride’s dressmaker.
Markle’s bridal bouquet was laid at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior at the British capital’s Westminster Abbey.
But anyone with a lingering case of royal wedding fever could join the tourists and locals soaking up the romantic mood and continued sunshine in the town of Windsor, where Saturday’s wedding and post-service carriage procession were held.
Good wishes poured in from around the world. British singer Adele posted a message on Instagram Sunday along with a photo of herself wearing a veil and toasting with a glass of champagne. She wished the couple well and invoked the memory of Princess Diana, Harry’s late mother.
“Congratulations Meghan and Harry,” she wrote. “You’re the most beautiful bride. I can’t stop thinking of how happy Princess Diana is upstairs x.”
Kensington Palace did not release details, but photographs showed Markle, now known formally as the Duchess of Sussex, wearing to the evening reception a large, emerald-cut aquamarine ring that Diana wore often before she died in a Paris car crash in 1997.
The wedding was the only topic of the day in Britain’s newspapers and on its television networks. The tone of the press coverage was congratulatory, with publications taking pride in the evident British flair for producing memorable events with fantastic settings and split-second precision.
Former British Cabinet minister Peter Mandelson told ITV Sunday that the wedding was so moving that he is now considering proposing marriage to his longtime partner.
“People all over the country are going to feel inspired, they are all going to want to run out and get married now,” he said.
The royal family, understandably thrilled by the good weather and good will, expressed gratitude to the visitors and viewers who came to Windsor or tuned in via TV.
“Thank you to everyone who came to Windsor and those who followed from around the UK, the Commonwealth, and the world,” the royals said.
After the big day, Queen Elizabeth II returned to her normal routine. She was seen being driven back to Windsor Castle after attending a Sunday morning church service.
The designer of Markle’s deceptively simple wedding gown and elaborate veil said Sunday that she received the special commission in early January and managed to keep it secret not only from the inquisitive British press, but from her family.
“It was an extraordinary moment when she told me,” said Clare Waight Keller, a Briton who made history as the first female artistic director at French fashion house Givenchy. “Of course, it’s an incredible thing to be part of such a historic moment.”
She said the design process had been collaborative.
“I think she loved the fact that I was a British designer and working in a house such as Givenchy, which has its roots in a very classical, beautiful style,” Waight Keller said.
Hair stylist Serge Norman, who came from New York to do Markle’s hair, said she was relaxed in the hours before the ceremony.
“She was calm, yeah,” he said. “Chatty, absolutely. We were definitely having exchanges, yeah for sure. She was very happy. It was a beautiful morning, just the perfect morning to get married.”
Harry and Markle spent their first night as a married couple at Windsor Castle. They are breaking with tradition by delaying a honeymoon. Before the wedding, Markle said she wanted to take up royal duties immediately.
They plan to fulfill their first royal work engagement as a married couple Tuesday, when they attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace to honor Prince Charles and his charity work. Charles’ 70th birthday is later this year.
Palace officials have been vague about Harry and Markle’s honeymoon plans, but they are expected to take a honeymoon in the near future.
No destination has been announced, and the couple may choose a place where they can relax without being trailed by photographers. Harry took Markle on a camping trip in Botswana shortly after they met and started dating.