How the Royal Wedding Shattered Stereotypes to Bring the Monarchy Into 2018

Meghan and Harry

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s big day was unlike anything the world had ever seen. Say what you will about the royals, but there’s no denying that the event was groundbreaking for the history of the monarchy and the world at large.

It’s no surprise that former wild child Prince Harry would be keen on subverting traditional royal wedding guidelines for his nuptials, and Markle is just as rule-bending as her new spouse. Not only is their relationship untraditional for British royalty by nature (Markle is divorced, American, and an actress, for starters), but the pair chose to break through even more boundaries by making modern choices for many of their wedding details.

The duo is truly a match made in heaven, and their big day will go down in the books as a royal affair that helped to usher in the new age of the monarchy. Without further ado, here are just a few of the ways Meghan Markle and Prince Harry broke tradition and brought their celebration of love into 2018:

1. Markle walked down the aisle solo.

The image of Meghan Markle gliding down the aisle solo towards her soon-to-be husband was breathtaking, and the subversive choice made a bold feminist statement. The former actress and philanthropist is a self-proclaimed proud feminist, so the choice to walk down the aisle solo says so much about her strength of character and independence. Although her father, Thomas Markle, couldn’t make it to the wedding due to health issues, the bride’s unchaperoned entrance seemed fated from the beginning.

2. An American bishop spoke at the ceremony.

Bishop Michael Curry’s passionate 14-minute-long speech at the royal wedding marked the first time an American bishop spoke at a British royal wedding. Curry’s speech mostly focused on the power of love, and it served as a touching balm for the world’s darkness. The sermon, which included quotes from Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, served as a wonderful way to tie in Markle’s African-American heritage and break royal tradition.

3. A gospel choir performed Ben E. King’s 1961 hit “Stand By Me.”

In another tribute to African-American culture, The Kingdom Choir performed a soulful rendition of Ben E. King’s Stand By Me. The song is deeply significant, not only for its strong themes of long-lasting love, but also as a symbol of the American Civil Rights movement. Time reports that the song has been “used as a rallying cry for solidarity amongst people of color” and that the performance at the ceremony acted as a symbol for the royal family’s growing inclusivity.

4. Markle wore a dress by a French fashion house.

Every other British royal bride in history has worn a thoroughly British dress, but Markle chose French fashion house Givenchy for her gown instead. However, English designer Clare Waight Keller created the simple and elegant dress, and Stella McCartney designed her second gown of the day, so Markle’s look definitely wasn’t lacking in British influence.

5. The cake was lemon and elderflower.

Traditionally, royal wedding cakes are tiered fruit cakes, like Prince William and Kate Middleton had at their celebration, and yet, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle left no stone unturned, choosing to break tradition yet again with a lemon and elderflower cake by baker Claire Ptak. The cake was covered in buttercream and flowers for springtime, and unlike most other royal cakes, it wasn’t tiered, but split into three separate pieces on ornate gold trays.

The royal wedding broke tradition in countless other ways (including that fairy tale kiss outside the chapel), and the event will certainly go down in history as a turning point in the British monarchy. For now, we’ll have to wait for the next generation of royals to find love and tie the knot before the world.