The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle — or, if you prefer, of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex — was a collision between the United Kingdom and the United States, a geopolitical tango in which a particular sort of American ethos definitively took the lead. For those who’ve surmised that Meghan may meaningfully change the public face of Britain’s monarchy, Saturday’s wedding seemed to provide ample evidence. For the many millions watching worldwide, it bore the imprints of a guiding sensibility that was passionate, globally engaged and — relative to the rest of the royals — downright breezy.
This became clear in the moments before Meghan even entered the chapel. Prince Harry, evidently a nervous groom, transmitted anxiety through the screen. Other members of the royal family seemed even less at ease, seemingly because of an odd paradox: Their pleasant remove from contemporary digital life has made them vastly less comfortable on camera than most of their subjects. Her motorcade may have arrived with down-to-the-minute British punctuality, but Meghan strode out with an un-royal sort of confidence. In a simple and clean dress and one bit of ornate finery — a tiara whose encrusted jewels set off her Drybar-chic messy bun — she held a pose outside the chapel for a long moment as her train was being arranged, and used the time to wave to members of the assembled crowd with a mood less of noblesse oblige than of amiable openness.