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Duke and Duchess of Sussex: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle married at Windsor

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Posted at 10:54 AM, May 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-19 07:00:32-04

(RNN) – Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are now married.

Welcome the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who were married at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle Saturday.

The ceremony started at noon in Britain - 7 a.m. ET in the U.S.

The couple delivered their vows, both smiling from ear to ear, and were officially married shortly around 7:40 a.m. ET.

Harry, now the Duke of Sussex, and his best man Prince William arrived at the chapel before the duchess, just after 6:30 a.m. ET.

Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth arrived after the groom. 

The world finally got a look at the duchess' flowing yet fitting white wedding dress which was designed by Givenchy's Clare Waight Keller.

From the dress to the ceremony, Harry and Markle did things their way.

The service was complete with a gospel choir and Rev. Michael Curry, bishop of the Episcopal Church, who preached at the royal wedding. Curry is African American. Sheku Kanneh-Mason, 19-year-old cellist, also wowed those in attendance with his performance. 

Guests – royals, international celebrities, family and friends – arrived hours before. Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney, Idris Elba, David and Victoria Beckham, Serena Williams, Elton John and James Blunt were among the celebrities seen arriving.

Charles Spencer, the brother of Princess Diana, was also in attendance, as was Sarah, Duchess of York.

Thousands of royal watchers showed up even earlier to wait on the streets outside the castle.

Prince Harry and then Meghan Markle, were engaged in November, and their wedding was celebrated as the union of a modern royal couple, interracial and international - a beautiful American actress and her down-to-earth English prince. 

He, the bad boy prince who grew up, served active duty in Afghanistan and won high praise for his humility, before taking on a philanthropic approach to his royal duties evocative of his mother, Princess Diana.

She, a self-made success with a desire to impact the world on her own terms, raised by a free-spirited single mother with whom she has an incredibly tight bond.

The ceremony took place at St. George's Chapel, on the grounds of Windsor Castle, a site where more than a dozen royal weddings have taken place in the last 150 years – including Harry's father, Prince Charles, to Camilla Parker Bowles.

There were about 600 guests in attendance, with another 200 invited to the reception later.

Royal wedding traditions call for rings of Welsh gold and a sprig of Myrtle in the bouquet. Hours before the wedding, Kensington Palace announced that Prince Harry would wear a ring of platinum, while Markle would wear a gold ring given to her by Queen Elizabeth. 

The cake was made by Claire Ptak, a lemon elderflower cake with buttercream and decorated in fresh flowers. 

Prince Charles escorted Markle down the aisle, but did not give her away. The bride's father did not attend due to his health and some speculate because of the controversy over photos he sold to tabloids.  

The wedding was overseen by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and British Anglican bishop David John Conner, the Dean of Windsor.

An official procession attended by thousands of well-wishers and onlookers followed the ceremony through the town of Windsor.

The wedding between between an American and a member of the British royal family, was the first since Wallis Simpson married Prince Edward, the former King Edward VIII, in 1937. In that marriage, Edward abdicated the throne in order to pursue love with a divorced woman.

Markle, too, is a divorcee, but times have changed. And, in any case, Harry is only sixth in line to the throne.

Their children will enter the line to the throne after their father at seventh (unless Prince William and Kate Middleton themselves have more children).   

While William may have the demeanor of a royal heir, Harry and Meghan are facing the world as accessible and charitable – the image of royal modernity.

Perhaps in much the same way Harry's mother Diana touched the world, the prince and Markle offer the possibility of a royal couple that occupy a place in the global consciousness that goes far beyond their royalty.

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