Marriage & Life Partners

Meghan Markle — “The Arc of Progress
Bends Toward Love”

A gospel choir, a coterie of African American feminist powerhouses like Oprah Winfrey and Serena Williams, the use of only young children as attendants, and the graceful presence of the bride’s mother, sitting alone across from the Queen and her vast tribe, helped underscore all the ways in which this event marked a sharp departure from the past. The New York Times wrote,

“The most startling moments 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 that began as a meandering discourse but built to a passionate, shouting climax, name-checking Martin Luther King Jr. and slave spirituals along the way.”

Great Britain, in her heyday, colonized so much of the world that it was said “the sun never sets on the British Empire.” The legacy of its world dominance is that today London is an epicenter of global commerce and multiculturalism. And Meghan Markle, the descendant of African-American slaves, proved that the colonies have conquered the conquerors by marrying a Prince of the Royal Family.

In Anglo-American culture at least, a Princess has traditionally been a blue-eyed blond. It wasn’t until 1991, when Disney made “Beauty and the Beast,” that a “princess,”  Belle, was depicted with brown eyes. I remember how excited brown-eyed little girls were when they finally got a chance to identify with the heroine herself. Even a cross-species princess, “The Little Mermaid,” had preceded this breakthrough.

Belle was followed by Jasmine, Pochohantas,  Mulan, and Tiara, the black heroine in the “Princess and the Frog.” Last year’s smash hit “Coco,” meticulously faithful to Mexican traditions, guarantees that Disney will continue to reflect diversity in its films and products.

Will the innovations we witnessed at the Royal wedding bring lasting change? Absolutely, because the change is already here. It can’t be proven, but it is likely that the breakthrough of Barack Obama, a biracial man, as President of the United States for eight years helped lay the groundwork for Meghan Markle’s acceptance into the Royal Family. As much as we are discouraged by the deepening racial divides here in the United States, some of it likely backlash against that very progress, history cannot be erased. A barrier, once broken, cannot easily be resurrected.

The Queen seems to have learned some things from her experience by now. Undoubtedly she approved of the protocol on Saturday, even if she did not exactly endorse it. She sat directly across from Doria Ragland, Meghan’s mother and sole family member in attendance. Both women were  there to witness history; and the change is here to stay.

Watching the bride, whose dazzling smile radiated poise and genuine warmth, it was easy to believe the Reverend Curry’s sermon about the “power of love.” It is not hard to imagine that soon, one day in the future, a member of the Royal Family will marry a same-sex partner. One thing I know for sure: this was a healing moment, and Princess Diana would have loved it.

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  • Richelle Jones May 24, 2018 at 10:25 am

    BRILLIANT perspective, Cecilia Ford, PhD… thank you for sharing! Wishing you EXTRAORDINARILY EPIC SUCCESS!
    Richelle D Jones, Life Coach