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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 September 2018

Royal wedding: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tie the knot

The new Duke and Duchess of Sussex were watched by millions as they said their vows

Britain's Prince Harry has married US actress Meghan Markle in a glittering ceremony watched by hundreds of royal and celebrity guests as well as millions of viewers from across the globe.

The couple, who were bestowed with the titles Duke and Duchess of Sussex by Queen Elizabeth II, became husband and wife at St George’s Chapel in the town of Windsor, south-west of London at midday on Saturday.

Ms Markle arrived at the church in long-sleeved white wedding dress and veil, designed by British designer Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy, attended by 10 bridesmaids and page boys, including her new nephew and niece Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

Prince Charles walked his future daughter-in-law down the aisle to the altar where the groom Harry was waiting dressed in dark formal military dress alongside the best man, Prince William.

As Ms Markle joined Harry, he turned to her and said: "You look amazing."

The ceremony was attended by many of Harry’s royal relatives, including the Queen, 92, and Prince Philip, 96, who walked into the church unaided despite only leaving hospital last month after hip surgery. Princess Diana’s siblings were also in attendance, including her brother Charles Spencer. Diana’s older sister Jane Fellowes gave a reading from the Bible.

Ms Markle’s mother Doria Ragland accompanied her daughter in the car on the way to the chapel. Ms Markle’s father, Thomas Markle, was unable to attend the event due to ill health.

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The star-studded array of celebrity guests included actor George Clooney and his lawyer wife Amal, tennis star Serena Williams, football legend David Beckham and Spice Girls singer Victoria Beckham, talk show host Oprah Winfrey and musician Elton John, who was a good friend of Diana’s. Ms Markle’s Suits co-stars were among the congregation including her former on-screen husband Patrick J Adams.

Harry’s ex-girlfriends Chelsea Davy and Cressida Bonas attended the royal event of the year as well as Sarah, Duchess of York, the ex-wife of Harry’s uncle, Prince Andrew. The duchess’s sartorial choice of a navy skirt suit paired with a Jess Collet hat was praised by fashion critics as she entered the chapel.

But all eyes soon turned to Ms Markle in her sleek white silk gown and veil, which featured a flower from each of the 53 Commonwealth countries - a request from the bride herself.

Dress designer Ms Waight Keller, who also designed the bridesmaids’ dresses, said the dress emphasised “the iconic codes of Givenchy” while conveying “modernity through sleek lines and sharp cuts”.

“It has been an immensely rewarding experience to get to know Meghan on a personal level, one I will forever carry with me. The House of Givenchy joins me in wishing her and Prince Harry every wish of happiness in their future,” Ms Waight Keller said.

One of the standout moments from the service was the sermon delivered by the Most Rev Michael Bruce Curry, the African-American leader of the Episcopal Church.

The moving 14-minute address on the power of love, which cited civil rights leader Martin Luther King and discussed the experiences of slaves in the US, was received warmly by the smiling congregation.

In another nod to Ms Markle’s American roots, a gospel choir sang Ben E King’s Stand by Me which was juxtaposed alongside the more traditional hymns and prayers expected at a British royal wedding.

Actor Ms Markle was poised and confident saying her vows while Harry, who stared lovingly into his bride’s eyes, appeared understandably nervous.

After the ceremony, the couple kissed at the top of the chapel steps before getting into a horse-drawn carriage for the royal procession through the streets of Windsor.

More than 100,000 well-wishers had flocked to the market town, which has been a royal residence since the 11th century, to catch a first glimpse of the newlyweds.

Meanwhile across the country royal supporters organised street parties and attended open-air screenings of the wedding to join in the celebrations.

Many gathered outside Kensington Palace in central London, where the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will live as husband and wife in the historical Nottingham Cottage, to watch the event on a huge projector screen.

Royal fan Tyler, 23, from London, said he believed the Meghan Markle-effect would bring vibrancy and dynamism to Britain’s royal family.

“She’s bringing with her the whole American appeal and of course some Meghan sparkle!” he told The National.

While tourists Eduardo and Gabriela, 45 and 44, from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, felt the marriage signified a maturity in Harry, who was just 12 when he lost his mother in a car crash.

Eduardo commented: “Harry has changed a lot. He used to be a lot more introspective and shy.”

“He's grown to be very independent and broad-minded,” added Gabriela.

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