An unexpected star of the show has emerged during the Royal Wedding – the head of the US Episcopal Church Bishop Michael Curry.
Bishop Michael Curry gave a lively address at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Saturday, as one of three clergy members involved in the ceremony.
During his uplifting address to the congregation, the Bishop told the royals and guests at the St George’s Chapel that love in all its forms had the power to change the world, drawing from civil rights campaigner Martin Luther King.
“There is power in love – don’t underestimate it, don’t even over-sentimentalise it,” the bishop stated.
“Love has the power to heal the world.
“When love is the way, the whole human family will come together.”
Many have said that the choice of the bishop for the address was heavily influenced by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s interest in civil and LGBT rights.
Curry stated that the power of love had to be “harnessed like fire” in order to make social change, but could be a powerful force.
He said: “Imagine a world where love is the way.
Curry quoted civil rights campaigner Martin Luther King as the address drew to a close, stating: “Dr King was right, we must discover love, the redemptive power of love. When we do that we will make of this old world a new world.”
Curry drew some parallels to drag queen RuPaul as he told the couple, “whilst you at it, love yourself,” prompting a wave of GIFs and drag-themed reactions on social media.
The bishop was also praised for his lighthearted approach to the ceremony, including one moment where he told the royal couple: “we’re going to sit down, we gotta get y’all married.”
Curry has a clear record in favour of LGBT rights.
Speaking previously about the role of LGBT people in the church, Curry told the New York Times: “God didn’t make anyone to be a second-class citizen… He says, ‘Come unto me all of you.’ He didn’t limit love. The dude, he got it.”
In 2016, the head of the Episcopal Church faced a backlash from the international Anglican Church for being inclusive of LGBT people.
US Episcopal Church has welcomed gay members for years, even appointing openly gay bishop Gene Robinson in 2003 – but provoked the wrath of hardline African churches within the Communion by voting last year to embrace equal marriage.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Michael Curry (Steve Parsons – Pool / Getty Images)
However, the church’s head Bishop Michael Curry vowed not to back down on equality – even as his church was blocked from Anglican decision-making bodies and suspended from the Communion.
During the wedding, many people praised the Bishop on social media for livening up what could have been a dull ceremony.
Huw Edwards of the BBC summarised the Bishop’s speech as: “an address the likes of which hasn’t been heard in a royal wedding in many years – if ever.”
Former Labour leader Ed Miliband was one of those to take to Twitter in response to Bishop Curry’s address.
Miliband wrote: “Rev Michael Curry could almost make me a believer.”
Others said that the Bishop had definitely made the most of his time in the spotlight.
One viewer wrote: “Goodness gracious, Bishop Michael Curry sure did seize the opportunity there. Wow. Great speech.”
“Bishop Curry is the liveliest priest to ever hit St George’s Chapel and the Brits are legit looking frightened,” added another fan of the Bishop.
Another viewer wrote: “A Black American bishop officiating the British royal wedding of a Black ‘princess,’ referencing slavery and quoting the words of MLK, who transformed the world with radical speech of love despite the hate that was (still is) ever so present…just wow!”