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Royal wedding: Harry and Meghan slip from view as family expresses thanks


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For Harry and Meghan, it was the morning after the night before. For the rest of Britain, it was a day to reflect on an electrifying wedding that's being hailed as a transformative moment for the British monarchy.

The last public glimpse of the couple, now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, was on Saturday evening when Meghan and Harry swept out of Windsor Castle in a vintage Jaguar convertible and drove south to Frogmore House, where Harry's father, Prince Charles, hosted an evening reception for 200 of the couple's friends and family.

Fireworks lit up the sky as guests, including the tennis star Serena Williams and the Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra, celebrated alongside members of the Royal Family.

Meghan is understood to have made a speech at the party -- another break with tradition in what was a royal wedding like no other. Saturday's ceremony featured a rousing, fiery address from Chicago bishop Michael Curry, a gospel choir plus a diverse array of guests from blue-blood royals to Hollywood celebrities.

"By having so many multi-cultural elements in the ceremony, finally we had a royal occasion that not only represented modern Britain but sent a real positive message to the world," Sandro Monetti, a British journalist now based in Los Angeles, told CNN.

"Small details can have a big impact. Finally the royals are in the 21st century and look young, vibrant and cool again."

The Royal Family thanked everyone who supported the wedding, from the more than 100,000 who came to Windsor to those who followed the day from around the world.

For the evening reception, Meghan changed from her boat-neck Givenchy wedding gown into a bespoke, lily-white Stella McCartney high-necked dress. She also wore an emerald-cut aquamarine ring that once belonged to Harry's mother, the late Diana, Princess of Wales. Harry switched into black- ie after wearing military dress during the ceremony.

Harry drove Meghan to the wedding in a vintage Jaguar E-Type Concept Zero. It was originally built in 1968 but has recently been converted to electric power. It bore the number plate E19 05 18 -- the date of the wedding.

Few details were released about the after party, but some of the celebrity invitees, including Williams, shared pictures of their own outfit changes on Instagram. CNN's Max Foster had said it was likely to go late into the night. "You know, Harry's a bit of a party animal. We know that."

© Steve Parsons/PA Wire/ap Meghan and Prince Harry set off for Frogmore House.

Straight back to work

After the celebrations wrap up, it's straight back to work for Harry and Meghan, who won't take a honeymoon right away. They will attend Prince Charles 70th birthday party at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday in their first royal engagement as a married couple.

This isn't without precedent. In 2011, Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, waited a couple of weeks before heading off on their honeymoon in the Seychelles.

From Australia to India, their trail-blazing wedding dominated front pages of newspapers around the world and was a huge social media moment with #RoyalWedding hashtag tweeted 3.4 million times Saturday.

Huge crowds had descended on Windsor, west of London, to catch a glimpse of Harry and Meghan and soak up the party atmosphere.

Viewing parties were also held across the United States, including at Markle's former school in California, Immaculate Heart High, an all-girls private Catholic school in Los Feliz. Students showing up in their pajamas as early as 2 a.m. to snag a spot in the school gym.

Bishop Michael Curry, the first African-American head of the Episcopal Church in the United States, who gave the powerful sermon, summed up the event's appeal.

"You could visually see a relationship -- we saw that. And it was contagious in the room, you could feel it in the church and people were happy. They were happy and joyful and thankful, and you know what we need some joy in this world," he said after the ceremony.

Unconventional wedding

The celebrations broke convention almost from the start. Markle, an outspoken biracial American divorcée walked unescorted down the aisle, followed by her 10 bridesmaids and page boys.

Only when she reached the chapel's Quire was Markle accompanied for her final steps to the foot of the altar by Prince Charles, Harry's father. Even then, he stepped back. There was no one needed to "give her away."

Hands clasped, the couple listened to a stirring, soulful address by Bishop Curry, who invoked the civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. to deliver a powerful ode to love."We must discover the power of love, the power, the redemptive power of love," he thundered. "And when we do that, we will make of this whole world a new world. But love, love is the only way.

It was followed by a performance of the Ben E. King classic "Stand by Me" by The Kingdom Choir, a group of 20 gospel singers, another of the elements that gave the ceremony an air of diversity.

The 600 guests who attended the ceremony at St. George's Chapel church were invited to an afternoon reception hosted by the Queen at Windsor Castle's St. George's Hall, at which Elton John -- who was a friend of the late Princess Diana and played at her funeral -- performed three songs. The best man, the Duke of Cambridge, acted as compere.

Rather than a traditional sit-down meal, guests were served canapes featuring langoustines and asparagus and "bowl food" that can be eaten standing up. A famously non-traditional, lemon-and-elderflower sponge cake chosen by Harry and Meghan was cut and served.

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