A Royal Wedding Watch Party

May 19, 2018
Originally published on May 19, 2018 8:44 pm
Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DON GONYEA, HOST:

And now turning our attention across the Atlantic to a very big day for the royal family and royal watchers - of course, the wedding of Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle, now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Years of tradition were on display, but the ceremony also had a few moments of surprise, like a gospel choir that sang "Stand By Me" and the African-American bishop who delivered a passionate sermon.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MICHAEL CURRY: Dr. King was right. We must discover love, the redemptive power of love.

GONYEA: NPR's Frank Langfitt has been covering the events around the royal wedding all day. Hey, Frank.

FRANK LANGFITT, BYLINE: Hey, Don. How you doing?

GONYEA: So, obviously, the big ceremony is long over at this point in the day. Tell us where you are right now.

LANGFITT: Well, right now I'm actually south of the Thames in London at the Prince of Peckham Pub. Peckham is a mixed-income community. Pretty big Afro-Caribbean community here. I'm hanging out with a couple of women I'd like to introduce you to, talking to Natalie Peters (ph) and Lynette Sims (Ph). Would you like to say hello, ladies?

LYNETTE SIMS: Hi.

NATALIE PETERS: Hi.

LANGFITT: So, Lynette, let's start with you. Can I just get your reaction to what you saw?

SIMS: I think, personally, it has been the best royal wedding that I've witnessed because of the diversity.

LANGFITT: Tell me your background. You're Afro-Caribbean, is that correct?

SIMS: Yes, it is.

LANGFITT: So what is it about the diversity that strikes you to such a degree?

SIMS: I didn't expect it, quite common in low regard to marry a mixed-heritage person. But it was also that fact that we saw an American preacher, and we also had a choir. It was just wonderful seeing two different cultures come together as one.

LANGFITT: And let's bring Natalie in.

PETERS: Hi.

LANGFITT: Was there one moment that stood out for you watching this ceremony today?

PETERS: The preacher. He was so animated. Never in a million years did I expect to be seeing that it in a royal wedding, and it was such a pleasure to watch.

LANGFITT: But I would like to go back to something else that was really interesting. You were watching on TV the way people were reacting in the church. Now, you guys loved it, but what reaction did you see in the church?

PETERS: Well, the royal family appeared to be quite uncomfortable, and they didn't seem as though they were enjoying it. Their expressions were quite a picture.

LANGFITT: I'm sitting here thousands of miles away. I am not a royal watcher, but as I was watching it, I just thought they always looked like that.

PETERS: Well, yeah. They've got stiff faces, but they looked very uncomfortable in the deliverance of the service. But I felt that it was a pleasure to watch them feel uncomfortable, because it's - is like the way the world needs to go.

GONYEA: Frank, thank you for introducing us to those two women. I'm wondering, do they seem to reflect what you're hearing more broadly?

LANGFITT: I think generally, yes. I think particularly younger people and certainly people of color were delighted by this wedding, but I saw the same thing they saw in the church, which was a lot of discomfort and people looking to the side. And, you know, the Bishop's speech from the United States did go on long. It was not in the British tradition. It was not understated. And I think it speaks to differences between, you know, cultural differences here but also differences between the United States and Great Britain. I mean, I think that this was a wedding that kind of shook things up a little bit.

GONYEA: Talking to Lynette Sims and Natalie Peters, they are at a pub in London and have been watching things today. Thank you both for talking to us.

PETERS: Thank you. It's been a pleasure.

SIMS: Thank you, Don. It was a pleasure.

GONYEA: And, Frank, thank you as well for being there today.

LANGFITT: Always happy to do it, man. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.