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How Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s official wedding portraits made history

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Kayleigh Dray
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Meghan Markle (aka the Duchess of Sussex) and Prince Harry have celebrated the end of their royal wedding weekend with the release of their official wedding portraits.

Meghan Markle’s star-studded wedding to Prince Harry was all anyone could talk about on Saturday (19 May). And now the royal couple are making headlines once again, thanks to the release of their official wedding portraits.

Taken in the Green Drawing Room at Windsor Castle shortly after the ceremony at St George’s Chapel, the three portraits were published on the Kensington Palace Instagram account. And the accompanying caption confirmed that they had been shot by none other that Alexi Lubomirski, who also took the couple’s engagement photos at Frogmore House in Windsor late last year.

The first of the images sees the royals posing for a big family photo, with the whole clan – minus Prince William and Kate Middleton’s youngest son, four-week-old Prince Louis – sat alongside the bridal party and Meghan’s proud mother, Doria Ragland. 

There is also a black-and-white shot of Harry and Meghan sat together on the castle steps, as well as a picture of the couple with their pageboys and bridesmaids (Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Florence van Cutsem, Remi Litt, Rylan Litt, Ivy Mulroney, Zalie Warren, Jasper Dyer and twins Brian and John Mulroney).

Check it out:

However, while the images offer a snapshot into what was clearly a happy day for the royal couple, they have also emphasised how much of a positive impact Meghan has had on the royal family.

When Prince William married Kate Middleton in 2011, it was hard to ignore the fact that the occasion was largely white, male and entrenched in the sort of tradition the world associates with the British monarchy.

Fast-forward seven years and we now have the first ever royal wedding portraits to feature black and biracial individuals. Indeed, Meghan’s mother – dressed to coordinate with Queen Elizabeth II herself – has been placed in the most prominent position, close to her daughter’s side.

It is a fitting tribute to a wedding which truly honoured black culture: during the service, a gospel choir sang Ben E King’s Stand by Me, Sheku Kanneh-Mason (the first black musician to receive the BBC Young Musician of the Year award in 2016) played the cello while the couple signed the register, and the ceremony ended with a performance of Etta James’s version of Amen/This Little Light of Mine, a song that became synonymous with the US civil rights movement.

And then, of course, there was the already-iconic address delivered by Reverend Michael Curry – the first African-American head of the Episcopal Church in the US.

The bishop opened his emotional 14-minute speech entitled The Power of Love with the words of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, saying: “We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will be able to make of this old world a new world. Love is the only way.

“There’s power in love. Love can help and heal when nothing else can. There’s power in love to lift up and liberate when nothing else will.”

Curry went on to quote a slave song, adding: “I’m talking about some power, real power, power to change the world… 

“If you don’t believe me there were some old slaves in America’s South who explained the power of love. They sang a spiritual even in the midst of their captivity. It’s the one that says there’s a balm in Gilead, a healing balm.”

When you consider that barely 3% of Britain’s most powerful and influential people are from black and minority ethnic groups (according to a study by The Guardian and Operation Black Vote released last September), this is no small thing. 

It shows that the royal family is becoming more diverse, and that things are finally changing… for the better.

Image: Getty Images 

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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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