WINDSOR, England — In with the new, and a reminder of what to cherish in the old.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s sun-filled, pageantry-laden wedding Saturday that blended British traditions with the bride’s African-American heritage went off without a hitch. The happy couple looked stylish and relaxed.
The guests included just the right ratio of celebrity fairy dust to family. The adoring crowds were large, yet orderly and respectful. There were no security scares. Markle’s glamorous sister-in-law — Duchess Kate — even gave the ultimate wedding gift of wearing an outfit she had worn three other times.
And the two people whose union was being celebrated showed millions of people around the world that they appear to genuinely love each other.
So well done, you two.
The ceremony and celebration were exactly what Brexit Britain needed: A loquacious sermon on "there is power in love" by American Bishop Michael Curry. The A-listers wearing fascinators or large hats. Life-sized cardboard cutouts of Harry and Meghan on every street corner. Princess Charlotte, 3, sticking out her tongue as she arrived at St. George's Chapel. Elton John and his larger-than-life pink sunglasses. Champagne, cheering and picnics on Windsor's elm-lined Long Walk.
Britain's forthcoming exit from the European Union, plus a recent immigration scandal, have created months of bitter divisions defined by class, geography, age and values. The wedding was a brief respite.
"It was wonderful. I enjoyed the whole day. It was full of life and love and fun," said Alex Winton, 58, a Scot who lives north of Edinburgh. Winton spent Saturday in Windsor with a group of childhood school friends. "The royal family is changing. It’s a big deal."
David Lammy, a British lawmaker who has led criticisms of Prime Minister Theresa May’s handling of "Windrush" immigrants, black Britons from the Caribbean who emigrated decades ago, wrote on Twitter: "A beautiful service and a beautiful couple. Making my beautiful mixed heritage family’s shoulders stands a little taller. Against the odds a great new symbol of that is still possible and hopeful in modern Britain."
While more than 100,000 people here were screaming and awwing and clapping for Meghan and Harry and the royal family’s newfound modernity, the biggest winner was not the newlywed couple, who drove to their evening reception in a vintage Jaguar converted to electric power and looked worthy of a James Bond movie.
Rather, it was a small, 92-year-old woman in a lime green coat and matching hat adorned with an elaborate purple feather and crystals, carrying her signature black handbag.
You know who she is: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Some of the biggest cheers on a day filled with grandeur and delight and tributes were reserved for her.
The queen didn’t do anything particularly noteworthy Saturday.
She arrived at the ceremony in her customary Bentley. She returned a few waves. During Curry’s animated sermon that touched on slavery, the queen and her husband Prince Philip kept straight faces. Earlier in the day, she conferred on Harry and Meghan the new titles of Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Yet here’s what she did do: She let it all happen. The queen, who has seen a world war, social revolutions and an increasingly multi-ethnic Britain, allowed the monarchy to change and attempt to transform into less of an anachronism.
It has reached the point where two people from radically different backgrounds can now marry for no other reason, as Curry put it, than "there is power in love."
Still, the reinvention is not quick enough for some, such as Graham Smith, who runs Republic, a group devoted to the demise of the monarchy.
"The monarchy as an institution is undemocratic and basically corrupt," he said. "This wedding was about celebrity and resembles the Kardashians on steroids, except unlike them, the royal family gets millions of dollars in taxpayers' money."
But the ancient regal rituals die hard. While it remains to be seen how far Harry and Meghan — and William and Kate — will guide Britain's royal family into the 21st century, one thing is clear: The queen has done her part.
God save the queen (and thank her for the royal wedding).