The most startling moments came with the sermon by the Most Rev. Michael Curry, the Chicago-born bishop of the Episcopal Church. Bishop Curry, in the great tradition of black preachers, delivered a loose, improvisational sermon that began as a meandering discourse but built to a passionate, shouting climax, name-checking Martin Luther King Jr. and slave spirituals along the way.
“I’m talking about some power, real power,” he boomed. “Power to change the world. If you don’t believe me, well, there were some old slaves in America’s Antebellum South who explained the dynamic power of love and why it has the power to transform.”
At one point, seemingly sensing the passage of time, he said, “We’re going to sit down; we gotta get y’all married.”
He punctured the hallowed, starchy decorum of the day, visibly shocking some members of the royal family. Some suppressed giggles. Zara Tindall, a granddaughter of the queen, looked as if she might fall off her chair.
The episode delighted viewers on social media.
“A black reverend preaching to British royalty about the resilience of faith during slavery is 10000000% not what I thought I was waking up for, the royal wedding is good,” Elamin Abdelmahmoud, social media editor at Buzzfeed, wrote on Twitter.