Presiding Bishop Michael Curry to preach at wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Posted May 12, 2018

Britain’s Prince Harry poses with Meghan Markle in the Sunken Garden of Kensington Palace, London. Photo: REUTERS/Toby Melville

[Anglican Communion News Service] Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry will preach at next weekend’s wedding of Prince Henry of Wales – more informally referred to as Prince Harry – and the U.S. actress Meghan Markle, Kensington Palace announced May 12. Prince Harry, the grandson of Queen Elizabeth and sixth in line to the throne, will marry Markle at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle next Saturday, May 19 in a service conducted by the Dean of Windsor, David Conner. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will officiate.

The invitation from the couple to Curry to preach at the service is a departure from tradition for British royal weddings. While previous royal weddings have involved clergy from other Christian churches saying prayers for the couple, sermons are usually given by senior Church of England clergy. The service will be televised around the world, and it is likely that the presiding bishop, who refers to himself as the CEO of the Episcopal Church – the chief evangelism officer – won’t resist the opportunity to talk about what he calls the Jesus Movement.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, shown here preaching on Palm Sunday at St. George the Martyr Anglican Cathedral in Jerusalem, was invited by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to preach during their May 19 wedding. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

“The love that has brought and will bind Prince Harry and Ms Meghan Markle together has its source and origin in God, and is the key to life and happiness,” Curry said. “And so we celebrate and pray for them today.”

Prince Harry was born on Sept. 15, 1984 and was baptized at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, three months later. After completing his formal education, he spent a gap year in Australia and South Africa before training for military service. He served with the British Army in Afghanistan as an officer in the Royal Horse Guards and 1st Dragoons of the Household Cavalry, in the U.S.-led operation to remove the Taliban from power following the September 11 terror attacks in New York and Washington. His service in Afghanistan came to an end after his presence there was revealed by an Australian magazine; but he returned there a few years later in a deployment with the Army Air Corps. In 2014, he launched the Invictus Games for injured ex-service personnel; and is patron of a number of organizations, including the HALO Trust, which is working to remove mines from Qasr el Yahud – the site on the west bank of the River Jordan at the traditional site of the baptism of Jesus.

Meghan Markle was born on Aug. 4, 1981 in Los Angeles, California. Her parents, Doria Ragland and Thomas Markle, divorced when she was six years old. In her acting career, she has appeared in a number of roles, including in the films Get Him to the GreekRemember Me, and Horrible Bosses. But she is best known her portrayal of the character Rachel Zane in the hit U.S.-legal drama series Suits. Her character, a paralegal who trained to become an attorney, was the love interest of phoney-lawyer Mike Ross. Markle married Trevor Engelson in 2011; but the couple divorced in 2013, long before Markle met Prince Harry.

The couple have met Archbishop Justin Welby on a number of occasions as part of the preparations for the wedding; and Markle asked Welby to baptize her. It has been widely reported that she was baptized and confirmed by Welby at St. James’ Palace in London in March.

“It was very special,” Welby told ITV News. “It was beautiful, sincere and very moving. It was a great privilege. . . You know at the heart of it is two people who have fallen in love with each other, who are committing their lives to each other with the most beautiful words and profound thoughts, who do it in the presence of God.”

Previous royal weddings have involved a range of preachers. When Queen Elizabeth married Prince Philip in Westminster Abbey in November 1947, the service was conducted by the Dean of Westminster, Alan Don, while the wedding itself was officiated by Archbishop of Canterbury Geoffrey Fisher. The sermon was preached by Archbishop of York Cyril Garbett.

Prince Harry’s mother and father, Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, took the unusual decision of marrying at London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral in 1981. They were married by Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie, who also preached. In 2005, after Diana’s death, Prince Charles married his second wife Camilla, now Duchess of Cornwall, in a civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall. This was followed by a Service of Prayer and Dedication at St George’s, Windsor, conducted by Archbishop Rowan Williams. There was no sermon in that service.

Prince Harry’s older brother, Prince William, married his wife Catherine at Westminster Abbey in 2011. The Dean of Westminster, John Hall, presided while Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams conducted the wedding. London Bishop Richard Chartres, dean of Her Majesty’s Chapels Royal, preached the sermon.

St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle is located within the area of the Church of England’s Diocese of Oxford; but it is outside the jurisdiction of the diocesan bishop. It is one of a small number of Church of England churches known as Royal Peculiars – which means that it is under the direct control of the monarch, rather than the diocesan bishop or archbishop. Among the other Royal Peculiars are Westminster Abbey, the five chapels that make up the Chapels Royal, and the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft, in the Houses of Parliament.


Comments (25)

  1. Tony Oberdorfer says:

    A few too many divorces in the royal family over the years for my taste but since somewhat to my regret I have never gotten around to having a wife and family of my own I should probably keep my mouth shut. Perhaps Prince Harry’s marriage will last.

    Is it not pretty obvious, however, that inviting Bishop Curry to preach is a political decision perhaps designed to impress the African members of what remains of the British Commonwealth? I realize that many would simply respond by saying “so what?”

  2. Susan Bravo says:

    What a great honor! Fantastic choice, Bishop Curry is amazing!!!

  3. Beth Hendrix says:

    A blessed and wonderful day all way around! Cheers!

  4. John Norvell says:

    Bishop Michael Curry graduated from Hobart College, Geneva, NY, in 1975, he is the recipient of the Hobart Alumni Association’s Medal of Excellence, presented to graduates who have achieved great distinction in their professions, community, andin the nation. We are very pleased at this news. John Norvell ’66 , former Hobart Alumni Director.

  5. Lorelle Wise says:

    What an honor. Bishop Curry is fantastic and an amazing leader of the Episcopal Church!

  6. Suzi Robertson says:

    So proud

  7. Christopher Cordes says:

    CEO indeed.

  8. I am certain that the 27th Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church Michael Curry will speak with confidence and conviction about the love of Christ. I pray his words will be a blessing to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

    On behalf of The Very Rev. Canon Martini Shaw – 17th Rector, The Rev. Samuel Kirabi Ndung’u – Assistant Rector, the Vestry, Clergy, Wardens and the People of The African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, the first Black Episcopal Church in the United States, I pray the happy couple enjoys a lifetime of unimaginable happiness.

  9. Greg Garrett says:

    Great for all concerned. Bishop Curry will rock the royal family!

  10. Tony Oberdorfer obviously knows nothing of the Anglican Communion. Most African bishops despise the American Episcopal Church including Bishop Curry, regardless of the color of his skin.

    1. Tony Oberdorfer says:

      Christopher, I am well aware of the somewhat understandable gap existing between African Anglicans and the Episcopal Church which does not always speak well for the Africans. I was in Zimbabwe years ago when the Bishop of Harare was an intimate friend of Robert Mugabe at his worst.

      But please reread my comment. I suggested not that Bishop Curry’s invitation may have been designed to impress African Anglicans but rather that there may have been the intention to impress the African members (i.e. the politicians) of the British Commonwealth. Megan’s mixed-race heritage may well have been a factor.

  11. Pearl McElheran says:

    Christopher Epting, you are right about the Anglican Communion in Africa. Obviously PB Curry was not invited to impress them. I think he was invited to honor Megan’s American heritage. Good for her and for all.

  12. David Bernstein says:

    I concur with Christopher Epting and Pearl McElheran. Presiding Bishop Curry is an incredible preacher and a dynamic leader!

  13. Paul St. Germain says:

    Absolutely inspired! ECUSA and CE and the royal family all uniting in witness to Christ and the Good News. God bless them!

  14. Rebecca Myers says:

    And Ms. Markle’s father was confirmed in The Episcopal Church, so what a great connection this all is.

  15. Stephanie Cabell says:

    Love Bishop Curry! What an honor it will be for the wedding party and guests to hear this great person.

  16. Joe Prasad says:

    Tony – given the history of colonialism and all the good / bad that went along, I think it is wonderful that Presiding Bishop Curry will be preaching at Prince Harry’s marriage. Never too late to let people/community know that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.

  17. Sue McWilliams says:

    I think it is very appropriate for Bushop Curry to speak at the wedding. He is an amazing person wth lots of insight to share wth all of us. Great choice!

  18. Andrew Poland says:

    That CEO bit makes me cringe. Just be a Baptist then, don’t drag all of us into it too. I’ve seen him in person and it just isn’t my cup of tea for a service. He’s energetic, he’s magnetic. He’s a wonderful speaker and is inspirational to boot. His style just doesn’t mesh right with more traditional sensibilities regarding church. I’m curious to see how the CofE receives him.

  19. Linda Belton says:

    It is so disheartening to read the comment stating that it will be interesting to see how Bishop Curry’s preaching will be received by the CoFE. The person commenting also said that the Bishop’s preaching style doesn’t mesh with the traditional sensibilities of the church. I don’t think the Prince and Meghan are concerned if anyone approves of their choice to invite Bishop Curry. Bishop Curry , the head of the Church of England and members of other denominations are more concerned with spreading the gospel and Not preaching style. The apostles were evangelists who preached love, inclusion and peace. They all had their own styles I’m sure. Even when they preached the “Good News” there were people who “cringed” at the ways some of them preached but as long as the message was received their mission was accomplished.

  20. Judy Stoll says:

    Presiding Bishop Curry is an amazing preacher and a steadfast leader. The Anglican Communion hasn’t always welcomed the American Episcopal Church due to it’s forward thinking practices such as same sex marriage and women bishops. How good it is that the Church of England, led by it’s Supreme Governor Queen Elizabeth II, is honoring our church and country
    by welcoming Bishop Curry to be an integral part of the marriage liturgy. God’s blessing on one and all!

  21. Paula Wicker Hamby says:

    If, Archbishop Welby recommended American Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, and Prince Harry and Ms. Markel accepted him to be their preacher at their wedding…who are we of the public to question why, what, how and give our opinions! God is obviously at work…Amen and Amen! Prayers for all concerned!

  22. I am so happy for Prince Harry and Ms. Markel. I love the sparkle I see from both of them when they look at each other. I pray that they will be left alone to express their love for each other for the rest of their lives. I look forward to their doing great things for the advancement of human rights.

  23. Gretchen Lipp says:

    I was not too interested in watching the Royal Wedding until I heard Bishop Curry was preaching. What a wonderful preacher providing the newly married couple God’s word of love for their journey together. I have heard Bishop Curry preach several times including his sermon at his installation of new ministry at our National Cathedral in Washington D.C. as are Presiding Bishop. Blessings for the married couple and Bishop Curry as we all celebrate God’s presence and love, alive among us through the sacrament of marriage.

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