Resources for Teachers and Students
FOR THE WEEK OF MAY 21, 2018
Turning point: Royal wedding marks a historic ‘changing of the guard’ in Britain
Choose a photo from last weekend's coverage and tell how it makes you feel.
Share a quote from a story or commentary about the wedding and tell why you pick it.
Now look for an example of change in America – or of a tradition that continues.
"It was not your average royal wedding," The New York Times says on its front-page. That's one way to describe Saturday's ceremony uniting 33-year-old Prince Harry of Britain with Meghan Markle, a 36-year-old former American actress who has a white father and black mother. The newlyweds shaped their Windsor Castle service to reflect their modern style and progressive views. "Markle, who has long identified herself as a feminist, entered St. George's Chapel alone rather than being given away by her father or any other man, a departure from tradition that in itself sent a message to the world," The Times notes.
The internationally televised wedding also reflected black culture, including prominent guests such as Oprah Winfrey, actor Idris Elba and athlete Serena Williams. Performers included a 19-year-old British cello virtuoso, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, who studies at the Royal Academy of Music and impressed Prince Harry at a London concert last summer. Other black talent was showcased. The Kingdom Choir, 20 gospel singers from Southeast London, did an American pop classic – "Stand By Me," co-written in 1961 by soul singer Ben E. King. Their role is described the first gospel performance at a wedding of anyone in line for the British throne.A U.S. clergyman also made a 14-minute splash. "The most startling moments," according to The New York Times, "came with the sermon by the Most Rev. Michael Curry, the Chicago-born bishop of the Episcopal Church. Bishop Curry, in the great tradition of black preachers, delivered a loose, improvisational sermon . . . name-checking Martin Luther King Jr. and slave spirituals." Curry, his national church's first African-American presiding bishop, is the son of an outspoken civil rights activist who helped end segregated schools in Buffalo, N.Y. As bishop in North Carolina, he was one of the first to allow same-sex marriages in churches there.
America spectators were among those who came to see public parts of the historic turning point, which included a horse-drawn carriage procession and the couple’s departure later in a Jaguar convertible. Denise Crawford, a court stenographer from Brooklyn, flew to London "to observe the changing of the guard and the changing of the British Empire. Today is a day that history will never forget." The royal couple stayed at the castle after an evening reception with 200 of their friends and family, hosted by Prince Charles. Their first official event as a married couple is a Buckingham Palace garden party Tuesday. There’s no word on where or when they’ll take a honeymoon trip. U.S. admirers include Barrett Holmes Pitner, a Washington, D.C. journalist who's a columnist at The Daily Beast site. "The new Duchess of Sussex has, in a relatively short period of time, made the British monarchy more accessible and diverse, and she has shown us that diversity and progress can make established institutions stronger," he writes Sunday.
Wedding sermon excerpt: "When love is the way, we will let justice roll down like a mighty stream, and righteousness like an ever-flowing brook." – Bishop Michael Curry
Columnist says: "Seeing a black minister address a predominantly white congregation remains relatively rare. But on Saturday, Britain's royal family broadcast that very image around the world." – Barrett Holmes Pitner, in a guest post for the British Broadcasting Corp.
Teen cellist says: "I was bowled over when Ms. Markle called me to ask if I would play during the ceremony, and of course I immediately said yes. What a privilege.” -- Sheku Kanneh-Mason, who cancelled a Los Angeles appearance
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