Feature: Britons embrace Meghan Markle into royal "modern family"

Source: Xinhua| 2018-05-20 02:36:00|Editor: ZD
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Prince Harry (L), Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex leave Windsor Castle in a carriage during a procession after getting married in Windsor, Britain, on May 19, 2018. The UK's Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle has tied the knot Saturday at St. George's Chapel in Windsor. (Xinhua/Pool/Lionel Hahn/ABACAPRESS)

by Xinhua Writers Jin Jing, Zhang Dailei

WINDSOR, Britain, May 19 (Xinhua) -- The streets of Windsor burst into waves of cheers on a precious sunny spring Saturday as Britons welcomed African American actress Meghan Markle into a hopefully more inclusive British monarchy.

More than 100,000 people merrily waved flags at Prince Harry and Meghan while the newly wedded royal couple toured around on the cobbled streets.

The couple smiled and waved back on a shiny black royal carriage pulled by four royal Windsor Greys horses, accompanied by a guard of the Household Cavalry with gleaming breastplates and helmets.

The royal fans, many wearing crowns or outfits featuring national flags, were closely following the royal wedding unfolded live on the big screens outside the Windsor Castle, one of the main residences of Queen Elizabeth II some 40 kilometers west of London.

Nicholas Pervez, a father of two kids from Yorkshire, got up at 1 a.m. in the morning and drove five hours to Windsor to witness what he called a "monumental event".

"Five hours of drive with two kids in the car was a nightmare but we made it. It is a passion and we have to make it," Pervez told Xinhua.

Despite the festive bunting and banners along the streets, security in Windsor remained tight. The routes, starting from the train station to the viewing sites, were carefully planned to avoid over-congestion. More than 3000 police officers were deployed to guard off any potential threats.

At noon, the world's attention turned to St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle where the wedding service was conducted. Millions more watched on TV or online as Prince Charles, Harry's father, walked Markle down the aisle with a five-meter-long silk tulle veil behind her.

More than 600 guests were invited to the service, with a further 200 invited to the couple's evening reception.

"The modern royal romance" of Harry and Meghan, a divorced African American actress, has been broadly welcomed in Britain as a symbol of a more inclusive open British monarchy that dated back to almost 1000 years ago.

Canan Kaymakci, a Turkish who has been living in London for six years, said she believed "everything is now possible" after the wedding.

"Nobody believed that black people can become a president until Barack Obama and now we have a princess with black roots. So I believe everything is changeable," she said.

Markle's place at the heart of the British establishment appears especially meaningful as UN representative Tendayi Achiume recently expressed concerns over a rise of "explicit racial, ethnic and religious intolerance" in Britain following the referendum on Brexit.

In a move to show that Britain remains committed to fighting violence and exclusion, more than 1,000 members of the public were invited to the grounds of Windsor Castle to watch the arrival and departure of the bride and groom. Among them, twelve-year-old Amelia Thompson, who was injured in the Manchester Arena terrorist attack.

Ross Antony, a British TV presenter said the fact that Meghan joined the royal family apparently makes the British public more hopeful.

"We love to put our royal family up in the cloud, but it is going to make them more close to the normal people. And that is great," he said.

"Brexit for us is a bad thing. And I think we are having this wedding today is a positive thing. It is opening doors that we would not have had," Antony said.

KEY WORDS: royal wedding