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I've never seen a less stiff upper lip in my life, said a courtier

7 14 5346
21.05.2018

He had a few jokes up his sleeve, of course. As the Royal Family's resident jester, that was to be expected. 'Don't pinch the swords,' the new Duke of Sussex told an audience surrounded by more suits of armour than Agincourt. It was nice of everyone to make such an effort, he added, especially since he and his bride had only wanted 'a low-key wedding'.

But it was when Harry uttered the words 'my wife' that he ground to a halt. Amid the cheering, he took a deep breath, pulled himself together and pressed on.

The same thing happened again as he thanked his duchess, praising her beauty and intelligence. Once more, he faltered.

If the Prince was struggling to get through this in one piece, many of his guests were past trying. 'I've never seen a less stiff- upper-lip royal event in my life,' said one courtier. 'Everywhere I looked, people were dabbing their eyes.'

Much has been made about this being the most modern royal wedding in history, a milestone for the monarchy, for multi-racial cohesion, for gospel choirs, for the transatlantic special relationship, for alternative cake-making, for the Windsor tourist industry and much else.

All of which may be true. But over and above all of that, this was a profoundly moving occasion, surely the most emotional royal event since the world watched a 12-year-old boy walk behind his mother's coffin two decades back.

It explains why this weekend came loaded with such poignancy as this universally beloved – and endearingly nervous – warrior prince embarked on the next chapter of his life with his luminously talented bride.

Set inside William the Conqueror's thousand-year-old fortress, with a healthy sprinkling of Hollywood and British celebrity stardust, was it any wonder so many wanted to be part of it all?

The primeval power of the fairytale really hasn't changed one bit. The former Meghan Markle had brought so many of her own touches to the day, epitomised by her bravura arrival at the West Door – a bride on the arm of no one; a woman ascending those ancient steps toute seule.

Prince Harry had stamped the imprimatur of his late mother everywhere – from her favourite flowers (forget-me-nots) to her favourite hymn (Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer) to the front-row seat for her old flatmate, Carolyn Bartholomew.

But there were no........

© Mail Online