As the world now knows Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were married in an opulent yet intimate ceremony on May 19 in the Windsor Castle. Days later, people are still talking about it and all of its facets. The break away from tradition, diversity of the clergy, musical selections and performers, but mostly the overall impact that the ceremony had. It’s fun for us to take note of the irony of an African American woman, born to a so called “lower class” bringing such uniquely African American traditions, expression and excellence into a wedding ceremony of a “royal’ family that been the symbol of oppression of the “lower classes” and people of color for centuries.
It’s fun to watch an African American Bishop address members of the royal family and in his remarks call to mind the evils of slavery, remind us of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King and with a firm conviction challenge people to imagine a world where LOVE is the guiding principle in all aspects of how society is organized. It’s fun to imagine Serena Williams, (Watts native) proudly walking through the halls with her beautiful knee length braids following behind her or to see Meghan’s lovely mom with dreads and a nose ring, escorted out of the castle, arm and arm, by the heir to the throne. One can’t help but juxtapose the fact that Prince Harry asked for an African American woman’s hand in marriage while at the same time, in the US white nationalism is one the rise and becoming a visible fixture in our social climate here at home.
However, not everyone had this reaction and many people question whether or not there was anything significant about the ceremony. I’ve heard grumblings from people who are distrustful of the Royal family (British empire) and rich people in general say that the ceremony was nothing more than empty posturing and that there is no real intention by this couple to work to change any of the problems impacting our society. I’m not going to argue that point one way or another. That is beside the point I’m making here and the truth is I don’t know what their long-term intentions are overall. I don’t know them but I do believe there was something significant to take away from the ceremony.
I do know, because history has taught me, that as humanity faces difficult times, it is extremely important to keep in the forefront of our minds a beautiful image of how things could be in this world. It’s important to keep a beautiful ideal of harmony and fraternity among all people which no sane person would deny is preferable to the conditions that we currently find ourselves in. It’s important because it inspires hope and reminds us to not only wish for but to also work on creating that vision, starting with the way we lead our own lives and the example that we set.
I’m not impressed by royalty or riches and so the spectacle of it all did not move me. The spirit of the celebration and its clear intention to remind the millions of people watching of this beautiful ideal did move me and I don’t think that was by accident.
Humanity doesn’t have any saviours outside of us. It’s up to us to do the work to save ourselves and it’s powerful to see and to be encouraged by people who have a strong ideal of what could be and a desire to share that vision of love with this world.
Legislators, street activists, teachers, musicians, neighbors and yes, even members of a royal family can play a part in bringing about improvements in society if willing.
“This Little Light of Mine, I’m Going to Let it Shine” was one of the song the chorus sang at the wedding recessional. I think that is exactly what these two lovers were lovingly encouraging the world to do. As the Bishop said, love is the way and we must never lose sight of that.
Ardena Joy Clark is an American activist, writer, award winning recording artist, former elected official and author of “The Art of Choosing Joy; A Script in the Making of My Life”.