Prince Harry and Meghan Markle leave the church after their wedding.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle leave the church after their wedding. Owen Humphreys

ROYAL WEDDING: Feminist statements Meghan Markle made

It was a day of firsts at Westminster Abbey yesterday, in a million tiny ways.

It was a British prince marrying a mixed-race, American divorcee while an African-American episcopal preacher gave the liveliest sermon the hallowed church had ever seen.

It was the bride's mother attending the wedding solo, strength radiating from every inch of her proud face.

It was the black gospel choir singing 'Stand By Me' in a marked break with the typical orchestral music we've come to expect from royal weddings.

For women, however, it was the many subtle feminist statements made by the new Duchess of Sussex that left us in awe of Meghan Markle. Refreshingly, she gave us so much more to talk about than her dress and tiara, and it's a welcome sign of what's to come as she takes up her most important role yet.

The minimal makeup

Meghan Markle has frequently lamented in interviews the fact that her freckles are often Photoshopped out or covered up in shoots. It's little wonder, then, that the stunning bride opted for a barely-there foundation that allowed her freckles - and her natural skin - shine through.


Walking herself halfway down the aisle

The furor over whether or not Meghan's dad would walk her down the aisle or not continued right up until two days before the wedding, when it was revealed she'd asked Prince Charles to do it. On the day, however, Meghan added her own empowering move: she walked the first half of the aisle completely solo, meeting up with her new father-in-law to complete the remaining length. The act was a first for a royal wedding, and made a bold statement about Meghan's ability to stand in her own power - even during the daunting task of getting hitched in front of the entire planet.

Not having a maid of honour

Another antiquated tradition Meghan Markle did away with was the concept of a maid of honour. Instead, Markle chose to stand alone, but for the gaggle of adorable children her new nephew George among them, holding up her train.

Omitting 'obey' from her vows

Like her late mother-in-law before her, the new Duchess of Sussex opted to omit the word 'obey' from the vows she exchanged with Prince Harry. If the ginger royal was ever in any doubt as to his new bride's independence, he isn't now.

Refusing to allow a whitewash

From the cellist (hand-picked by Meghan herself), to the choir and its rendition of 'Stand By Me', to the preacher who quoted Martin Luther King Jr, nods to Meghan Markle's heritage were everywhere. In a time where racial division lines can seem stronger than ever, Markle's insistence on representation of black culture at her wedding was a powerful move. The fact that viewers could not remember a more culturally diverse royal wedding speaks to the importance of representation in institutions of power.

A new era is here, and it was ushered in by a stunning, empowered and socially-aware feminist, who we suspect is going to do more to change ancient power structures than anyone could have imagined.

This story originally appeared in Whimn and has been republished with permission.