I had planned to steer clear of the ‘wedding of the century’, making a lot of eye rolling over the circus that led up to the big day. I’d resolved that I would check in to look at the dress in my Facebook feed and that would be it.
However, at 8.30pm on Saturday night I felt moved to turn on the TV and witness what I now believe to be one of the most significant public events of our times.
Watching from the other side of the world, it was clear that this was an event filled with, not just love (thanks Bishop Michael Curry) but with powerful symbolism of change for the better.
Even before the wedding, the message was clear that, despite the protocols, there was a stamp of something new from this union. The request that guests donate to one of seven small charities rather than send a wedding gift has already shown how much impact this young couple will have in doing good.
Surfers Against Sewage, a charity dedicated to tackling plastic pollution in our oceans, reported, on the day of the wedding that donations had risen 357% since last year, membership figures had increased by 178% since last year and they had twice as many people turn up for their annual spring beach clean, which took place just after the announcement.
Then there is Meghan herself, a biracial US actress, marrying into British royalty – unprecedented in itself, but there were touches all through the ceremony that demonstrated her inner strength and determination to maintain her own identity, and let the diversity shine through. From her ‘I got this’ solo entrance to the choir and the inclusion of that now famous monologue from Bishop Curry, there was a sense of demonstrating that we can be strong and different, yet live and love together. And, her own sense of living with a positive social impact will no doubt have a far-reaching effect as her royal star rises.
But, by far the biggest takeaway for me from this event is that ‘Brand Royal,’ with the Queen leading from the front, has maintained protocols, values and traditions at the same time as upgrading and diversifying to stay current. If an institution that is centuries old can manage to retain the essence of the brand but embrace the need to respect the mood of its people, to understand that we want our leaders to step up and stand for change, then I find it hard to accept that any corporation can argue against doing the same.
The gauntlet has been thrown down and world leaders and business leaders need to pick it up and run with it.
All hail the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.