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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry give royal wedding vows a feminist update

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Kayleigh Dray
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It’s official: Meghan Markle will not pledge to “obey” Prince Harry during their royal wedding vows.

The order of service for the royal wedding was published in full this morning (see below), and it has confirmed that Meghan Markle will not be promising to “obey” her husband-to-be during their vows.

Instead, she will pledge: “For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part”.

It’s a decision which should come as no surprise to Markle’s longtime fans: a passionate women’s rights activist all her life, the actress has worked as an ambassador for UN Women and the charity World Vision. She’s used her celebrity status to back Hillary Clinton, lament Brexit and attack Donald Trump as “misogynistic” and “divisive”. She’s even used her wedding to Prince Harry to raise awareness for Myna Mahila, a charity which empowers women in Mumbai’s slums by providing them with a trusted network, stable employment and the chance to grow as individuals and businesswomen.

And it’s the sort of move which has earned Markle a place on Time magazine’s annual 100 Most Influential People list – accompanied by a glowing essay about the soon-to-be royal, penned by none other than Priyanka Chopra.

“This ever-smiling, strong free spirit found her prince, fell in love and in turn made a cynical world believe in fairy tales again,” writes Chopra.

“With her, what you see is real, and what you get is a relatable young woman with her heart and mind in the right place. Her compassion, evident in the causes she supports, and her drive to break down stereotypes—obvious in her actions—will connect her to a generation in much need of kindness.”

Chopra adds: “More than anything else, Meghan is an important influencer in a world that needs strong public figures to respect and look up to. People the world can be inspired by.

“Meghan, standing shoulder to shoulder with Harry, will be a princess for the people.”

It is worth noting that, when Princess Diana married Prince Charles in 1981, she also omitted the phrase, and the Duchess of Cambridge followed suit in 2011 during her wedding to Prince William. 

Here is the order of service for Harry and Meghan’s wedding in full:

The Marriage of His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales with Ms Meghan Markle at St George’s Chapel Windsor Castle Saturday, 19 May, 2018 at 12 Noon.

The following Pastoral Introduction is taken from Common Worship:

A wedding is one of life’s great moments, a time of solemn commitment as well as good wishes, feasting and joy. St John tells us how Jesus shared in such an occasion at Cana, and gave there a sign of new beginnings as he turned water into wine.

.Marriage is intended by God to be a creative relationship, as his blessing enables husband and wife to love and support each other in good times and in bad, and to share in the care and upbringing of children. For Christians, marriage is also an invitation to share life together in the spirit of Jesus Christ.

It is based upon a solemn, public and life-long covenant between a man and a woman, declared and celebrated in the presence of God and before witnesses.

On this their wedding day the bride and bridegroom face each other, make their promises and receive God’s blessing. You are witnesses of the marriage, and express your support by your presence and your prayers. Your support does not end today: the couple will value continued encouragement in the days and years ahead of them.

Prayer

God of love,

send your blessing upon Harry and Meghan,

and all who are joined in marriage,

that, rejoicing in your will

and continuing under your protection,

they may both live and grow

in your love all their days,

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen

Who is doing what?

The service is led by The Right Reverend David Conner KCVO, Dean of Windsor.

The marriage is solemnised by The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury.

The service is sung by the choir of St George’s Chapel, conducted by Mr James Vivian, Director of Music, St George’s Chapel. The Organ is played by

Mr Luke Bond, Assistant Director of Music, St George’s Chapel, Windsor, and Mr Jason Richards, Organ Scholar, St George’s Chapel.

The Cellist, Mr Sheku Kanneh-Mason is a British Cellist who won the 2016 BBC Young Musician of the Year award.

The Orchestra is made up of musicians drawn from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the English Chamber Orchestra and the Philharmonia, conducted by

Mr Christopher Warren-Green.

For the Procession of the Bride, they are joined by:

Ms Elin Manahan Thomas (Soprano) and Mr David Blackadder (Trumpet).

Ms Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir.

The State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry.

Music before the service

From 10.35 am Mr Luke Bond, Assistant Director of Music, will play:

Marche Heroique - Sir Alfred Herbert Brewer (1865-1928)

Prelude and Fugue in G Major, BWV 541 - Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Psalm-Prelude Set 1, No. 2 - Herbert Howells (1892-1983)

Symphony No. 4, Andante Cantabile - Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937)

Prelude on Rhosymedre - Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)

From 11.10 am the Orchestra will play:

Salut d’Amour - Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934)

St Paul’s Suite, movement 4 - Gustav Holst (1874-1934)

Lady Radnor’s Suite movements 2, 3 & 5 - Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (1848-1914)

Capriol Suite, movements 2, 3, & 5 - Peter Warlock (1894-1930)

Fantasia on Greensleeves - Ralph Vaughan Williams

Serenade for Strings, movement 1 - Sir Edward Elgar

Chanson de Matin - Sir Edward Elgar, arr. Benjamin Woodgates (b. 1986)

Timings

At 11.25 am Members of the Royal Family arrive at the Galilee Porch and are received by the Dean of Windsor who presents the Canons of Windsor and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Those in the Quire stand as they are conducted to their places.

All sit.

At 11.40 am The Bridegroom and his Best Man arrive at the West Door and are received by the Dean of Windsor. All stand as the Bridegroom and his Best Man are conducted to the Bray Chantry Chapel.

At 11.42 am Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall arrive at the Galilee Porch and are received by the Vice-Dean who presents the Canons of Windsor and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Those in the Quire stand as they are conducted to their places.

At 11.45 am the Mother of the Bride, Ms Doria Ragland, arrives at the Galilee Porch and is received by the Dean of Windsor and is conducted to her seat in the Quire.

At 11.52 am Her Majesty The Queen arrives at the Galilee Porch and is received by the Dean of Windsor who presents the Canons of Windsor and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Those in the Quire stand as Her Majesty is conducted to her place in the Quire.

A fanfare will sound.

All stand as the Choir and Clergy move in procession to the Quire.

Sacristan

The Choir of St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle

The Director of Music -Mr James Vivian

Minor Canon - The Reverend Franklin Lee

Chaplain to The Queen - The Reverend Prebendary Rose Hudson-Wilkin

Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London - His Eminence Archbishop Angaelos

Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church in the USA - The Most Reverend Michael Curry

The Archbishop of Canterbury - The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby

Canon Steward - The Reverend Canon Dr Mark Powell

Canon Precentor - The Reverend Canon Martin Poll

Vice-Dean - The Reverend Canon Dr Hueston Finlay

All sit

At the entrance of the Bride, all stand.

A fanfare will sound at the Bride’s arrival.

The Bride, having been greeted by the Dean of Windsor, moves in procession through the Nave where she is joined by her Father, Mr Thomas Markle, to the High Altar. The Bridegroom and his Best Man await.

Introit

Performed by the Orchestra and Ms Elin Manahan Thomas (Soprano) with Mr David Blackadder (Trumpet).

Eternal source of light divine,

With double warmth thy beams display,

And with distinguished glory shine,

To add a lustre to this day.

George Frederick Handel (1685-1759)

All remain standing.

At the High Altar, The Dean of Windsor greets the congregation.

The welcome

The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

the love of God,

and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you:

and also with you.

God is love, and those who live in love live in God and God lives in them.

1 John 4. 16

All sit.

The preface

The Dean of Windsor reads the preface.

In the presence of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we have come together to witness the marriage of HENRY CHARLES ALBERT DAVID and RACHEL MEGHAN, to pray for God’s blessing on them, to share their joy and to celebrate their love.

Marriage is a gift of God in creation through which husband and wife may know the grace of God.

It is given that as man and woman grow together in love and trust, they shall be united with one another in heart, body and mind, as Christ is united with his bride, the Church.

The gift of marriage brings husband and wife together in the delight and tenderness of sexual union and joyful commitment to the end of their lives.

It is given as the foundation of family life in which children are born and nurtured and in which each member of the family, in good times and in bad, may find strength, companionship and comfort, and grow to maturity in love.

Marriage is a way of life made holy by God, and blessed by the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ with those celebrating a wedding at Cana in Galilee.

Marriage is a sign of unity and loyalty which all should uphold and honour. It enriches society and strengthens community.

No one should enter into it lightly or selfishly but reverently and responsibly in the sight of almighty God.

HARRY and MEGHAN are now to enter this way of life. They will each give their consent to the other and make solemn vows, and in token of this they will each give and receive a ring.

We pray with them that the Holy Spirit will guide and strengthen them, that they may fulfil God’s purposes for the whole of their earthly life together.

All stand.

The hymn

Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy,

Whose trust, ever child-like,

no cares could destroy,

Be there at our waking, and give us, we pray,

Your bliss in our hearts, Lord,

at the break of the day.

Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith,

Whose strong hands

were skilled at the plane and the lathe,

Be there at our labours, and give us, we pray,

Your strength in our hearts, Lord,

at the noon of the day.

Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace,

Your hands swift to welcome,

your arms to embrace,

Be there at our homing, and give us, we pray,

Your love in our hearts, Lord,

at the eve of the day.

Jan Struther (1901-53) ‘Slane’, Traditional Irish Melody

The declarations

All remain standing as the Archbishop leads the declarations

First, I am required to ask anyone present who knows a reason why these persons may not lawfully marry, to declare it now.

The Archbishop says to the Couple

The vows you are about to take are to be made in the presence of God, who is judge of all and knows all the secrets of our hearts; therefore if either of you knows a reason why you may not lawfully marry, you must declare it now.

The Archbishop says to the Bridegroom

Harry, will you take MEGHAN to be your wife? Will you love her, comfort her, honour and protect her, and, forsaking all others, be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?

He answers

I will.

The Archbishop says to the Bride

MEGHAN, will you take HARRY to be your husband? Will you love him, comfort him, honour and protect him, and, forsaking all others, be faithful to him as long as you both shall live?

She answers

I will.

The Archbishop says to the congregation

Will you, the families and friends of HARRY and MEGHAN, support and uphold them in their marriage now and in the years to come?

All answer

We will.

The Archbishop invites the people to pray, silence is kept and he says…

The collect

God our Father, from the beginning

you have blessed creation with abundant life.

Pour out your blessings upon HARRY and MEGHAN,

that they may be joined in mutual love and companionship,

in holiness and commitment to each other.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Amen.

All sit.

Reading

From the Song of Solomon, read by The Lady Jane Fellowes from the Nave:

My beloved speaks and says to me: ‘Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtle-dove is heard in our land.

The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance.

Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.’

Set me as a seal upon your heart,

as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave.

Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it.

If one offered for love all the wealth of one’s house, it would be utterly scorned.

Motet

All remain seated while the Choir of St George’s Chapel sing the motet:

If ye love me

If ye love me,

keep my commandments,

and I will pray the Father,

and he shall give you another comforter,

that he may ‘bide with you forever,

e’en the spirit of truth.

Thomas Tallis (1505-85)

All remain seated.

The address

The address by The Most Reverend Michael Curry.

All remain seated.

Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir will sing Stand by Me from the West End of The Chapel.

When the night has come,

And the land is dark,

And the moon is the only light we see.

No, I won’t be afraid.

Oh, I won’t be afraid,

Just as long as you stand, stand by me.

So darling, darling, stand by me,

Oh, stand by me.

Oh stand, stand by me. Stand by me.

If the sky that we look upon,

Should tumble and fall,

Or the mountain should crumble to the sea.

I won’t cry, I won’t cry.

No, I won’t shed a tear.

Just as long as you stand, stand by me,

Darling, darling, stand by me…

Whenever you’re in trouble,

Won’t you stand by me, oh stand by me.

Oh stand, stand by me. Stand by me.

Jerry Leiber (1933-2011) Ben E. King (1938-2015) and Mike Stroller (b. 1933)

The Vows

All remain seated as the Archbishop leads the vows

HARRY and MEGHAN, I now invite you to join hands and make your vows, in the presence of God and his people.

The Bride and Bridegroom face each other and join hands. The Bridegroom says

I HARRY, take you, MEGHAN, to be my wife, to have and to hold from, this day forward; for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part; according to God’s holy law. In the presence of God I make this vow.

The Bride says

I MEGHAN, take you, HARRY, to be my husband, to have and to hold , from this day forward; for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part; according to God’s holy law. In the presence of God I make this vow.

They loose hands.

The giving of the rings

HEAVENLY Father, by your blessing let these rings be to HARRY and MEGHAN a symbol of unending love and faithfulness, to remind them of the vow and covenant which they have made this day, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Bridegroom places the ring on the fourth finger of the Bride’s left hand and, holding it there, says

MEGHAN, I give you this ring as a sign of our marriage. With my body I honour you, all that I am I give to you, and all that I have I share with you, within the love of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

They loose hands and the Bride places a ring on the fourth finger of the Bridegroom’s left hand and, holding it there, says

HARRY, I give you this ring as a sign of our marriage. With my body I honour you, all that I am I give to you, and all that I have I share with you, within the love of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

All remain seated.

The proclamation

The Archbishop addresses the people

IN the presence of God, and before this congregation, HARRY and MEGHAN have given their consent and made their marriage vows to each other. They have declared their marriage by the joining of hands and by the giving and receiving of rings. I therefore proclaim that they are husband and wife.

The Archbishop joins their right hands together and says

Those whom God has joined together let no-one put asunder.

The anthem

All remain seated while the Choir of St George’s Chapel sing the anthem.

The Lord bless you and keep you

THE Lord bless you and keep you:

The Lord make his face to shine upon you,

to shine upon you and be gracious unto you.

The Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you,

and give you peace. Amen.

John Rutter (b. 1945)

All remain seated.

The blessing of the marriage

The Archbishop says

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, for you have created joy and gladness, pleasure and delight, love, peace and fellowship. Pour out the abundance of your blessing upon HARRY and MEGHAN in their new life together. Let their love for each other be a seal upon their hearts and a crown upon their heads. Bless them in their work and in their companionship; awake and asleep, in joy and in sorrow, in life and in death. Finally, in your mercy, bring them to that banquet where your saints feast for ever in your heavenly home. We ask this through Jesus Christ your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, bless, preserve and keep you; the Lord mercifully grant you the riches of his grace, that you may please him both in body and soul, and, living together in faith and love, may receive the blessings of eternal life. Amen.

All sit or kneel.

The prayers

The prayers led by Archbishop Angaelos and The Reverend Prebendary Rose Hudson-Wilkin from the Nave.

Faithful God, holy and eternal, source of life and spring of love, we thank and praise you for bringing HARRY and MEGHAN to this day, and we pray for them.

Lord of life and love: hear our prayer.

May their marriage be life-giving and life-long, enriched by your presence and strengthened by your grace; may they bring comfort and confidence to each other in faithfulness and trust.

Lord of life and love: hear our prayer.

May the hospitality of their home bring refreshment and joy to all around them; may their love overflow to neighbours in need and embrace those in distress.

Lord of life and love: hear our prayer.

May they discern in your word order and purpose for their lives; and may the power of your Holy Spirit lead them in truth and defend them in adversity.

Lord of life and love: hear our prayer.

May they nurture their family with devotion, see their children grow in body, mind and spirit and come at last to the end of their lives with hearts content and in joyful anticipation of heaven.

Lord of life and love: hear our prayer.

Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us

Oour Father in heaven, hallowed be your name; your kingdom come, your will be done; on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.

All stand.

Hymn

Guide me, O thou great Redeemer,

Pilgrim through this barren land;

I am weak, but thou art mighty,

Hold me with thy powerful hand:

Bread of heaven,

Feed me till I want no more.

Open now the crystal fountain

Whence the healing stream doth flow;

Let the fire and cloudy pillar

Lead me all my journey through:

Strong deliverer,

Be thou still my strength and shield.

When I tread the verge of Jordan,

Bid my anxious fears subside;

Death of death, and hell’s Destruction

Land me safe on Canaan’s side:

Songs of praises

I will ever give to thee.

William Williams (1717-91) ‘Cwm Rhondda’, John Hughes (1873-1932)

Descant verse: James Vivian (b. 1974)

The blessing

All remain standing as the Dean of Windsor says the blessing.

God the Holy Trinity make you strong in faith and love, defend you on every side, and guide you in truth and peace; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

All remain standing.

The organ plays as those who are signing the registers move from the Quire to the North Quire Aisle.

All sit at the conclusion of the organ music.

During the Signing of the Register the following is played by Mr Sheku Kanneh-Mason and the Orchestra:

Sicilienne - Maria Theresia von Paradis (1759-1824) arr. Chris Hazell (b.1948)

Apres un reve - Gabriel Faure (1845-1924) arr. Chris Hazell

Ave Maria - Franz Schubert (1797-1828) arr. Chris Hazell

All stand as the Bride and Bridegroom return to the Quire.

National Anthem

God save our gracious Queen,

Long live our noble Queen,

God save The Queen!

Send her victorious,

Happy and glorious,

Long to reign over us,

God save The Queen!

The procession of the bride and bridegroom

During the Procession the following is played

Symphony no. 1 in B-flat - Allegro William Boyce (1711-1779)

Amen/This little light of mine - Etta James Jester Hairston (1901-2000) and Harry Dixon Loes (1892-1965)

All remain standing during the Procession of the Bride and Bridegroom, until members of their families have left the Chapel.

All remain standing as the Ecclesiastical Procession leaves by way of the Organ Screen and the North Quire Aisle.

Thereafter please leave the Chapel as directed by the Lay Stewards.

Those in the Quire should leave by way of the South Door in order to stand on Chapter Grass to view the Carriage procession on Chapel Hill.

Image: Getty

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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