You may have missed it (if you live under a rock or perhaps in a cave on Mars), but over the weekend, Prince Harry married Meghan Markle in a ceremony that had the entire world on the edge of its seat.
Just like the royal weddings of Charles and Diana, and William and Kate, this one was watched by thousands of spectators who lined the streets outside the church, as well as by millions who tuned in from around the world. Yet while there were endless similarities to royal weddings of the past, this one was different. This one, more than any other royal wedding in modern times, broke a few “rules” and showed the world a new type of British royalty.
That’s because the newly-minted Duchess of Sussex isn’t just an American actress and women’s rights activist who married a handsome English prince. She also comes from a black mother and a white father — something that has proven itself to be pretty important to biracial families all over the world, including one little girl from New York named Louisa Ritchey.
Just like many young black girls growing up today, Louisa doesn’t often see princesses or even duchesses who look like her. That is, until Meghan Markle came along.
Louisa’s mom Bethany tells Babble that she grew up loving the royal family herself (even dressing up as Princess Diana for Halloween throughout her childhood); so taking her daughter to see the history-making royal wedding was an easy decision. But the extra significance the day would have on Louisa made the trip even more special.
Last Wednesday, Ritchey flew all the way from New York City to England with 3-year-old Louisa so the pair could have the experience of a lifetime — and she pulled out all the stops.
“We did an English Tea on Wednesday afternoon, and on Thursday we spent several hours in the Princess Diana Memorial Playground in Hyde Park,” she tells Babble. “My daughter ended up soaked from playing in the splash ponds, but it was well worth it for the smiles.”
But the fun didn’t end there. Bethany says they traveled to Windsor on Friday, the day before the wedding, to experience the excitement of the nuptials firsthand and mingle with the onlookers.
“The crowds were fun and festive,” Bethany shares. “Louisa loved seeing all of the spectators, including many dressed as Princess Meghan, men dressed in Union Jack suits, and lots of music and spirit. We ate lunch at an American BBQ restaurant, to honor Meghan.”
Then finally, the big day came. Bethany says it was “amazing,” and everything she and Louisa dreamt it would be.
“We had a vantage point right outside of the gates to the chapel,” she shares with Babble. “We watched the carriage go by and waived to Meghan. It was pure magic. It was like Louisa was watching a real-life Cinderella, who looks like her, living her happily ever after!”
Magical indeed — not to mention a day for the history books. A day when a biracial American woman became British royalty. A day for little girls with dark skin to see that someone who looks like them can wear a 12-foot veil, marry a prince, and live in a palace, just like any other girl.
According to Bethany, one of the day’s “highlights” for Louisa was the bit of comedic relief that came after what I can only assume was an exciting, but exhausting day — and that was “watching one of the horses do a ‘big poopie’ right in the middle of the parade route.”
“Not exactly commentary you were to likely see on BBC,” Bethany quips, “but quickly pointed out by 3-year-old Louisa.”
Oh, parenthood. That’s just further proof that 3-year-olds are 3-year-olds, wherever you take them.
When asked why it was so important to take Louisa to this memorable event, her mom says that it wasn’t just important to show her daughter a royal who resembles her; she also wanted to show her a woman who stands up for what she believes in and fights for what she believes is right.
“We love Meghan’s support of women’s rights and human rights,” Bethany shares. “She is a princess with substance.”
Congrats to the royal couple, and thank you to the Ritcheys for sharing their special day with the world that’s full of so many colors.