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Loyal Royal Watchers Say Meghan Markle Is Making Princess Diana Proud


There has been wall-to-wall coverage today as Meghan and Harry tied the knot, so please indulge us for just a bit more coverage of the royal nuptials. More than 100,000 spectators lined the roads of Windsor for a peek at the newlyweds. And, some 5,300 miles away, Karen Grigsby Bates from NPR's Code Switch team watched the celebration in the wee hours with a group of women who felt especially close to the new duchess of Sussex.

KAREN GRIGSBY BATES, BYLINE: At 3:30 this morning, the streets were black and dead quiet in this Midtown Los Angeles neighborhood. But in a small apartment building, Nicole Roberts gathered a handful of friends to watch a former fellow actress, Meghan Markle, marry Prince Harry. The women wore cocktail dresses and glittering tiaras and fancy bedroom slippers as they watched the arrival of guests - Oprah Winfrey, David and Victoria Beckham, Sir Elton John. The young flower girls and page boys were particular favorites.


UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Oh, there they are - the little nuggets. I want to dip them in sauce and eat them.

BATES: There was also appreciation for the slightly nervous groom.



UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Oh, he looks so good (laughter).

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: He's ready, he's ready.

BATES: Finally, the car carrying Meghan Markle and her mother, Doria Ragland, comes into view.


UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: OK. She's on her way. Oh, she's not in a Range Rover. She's in a...



UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #5: She looks incredible.


BATES: From a vintage Rolls Royce, Markle waved serenely, her face slightly draped in tulle. The Queen Mary bandeau tiara, a loan from Queen Elizabeth, sparkles. The top of Markle's dress looks elegant and regal, a reminder of another American princess.


UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Did she give you Grace Kelly? She gave me Grace Kelly.

BATES: These 30-somethings know their fairytale princess romances and remember Diana fondly from the last years of her marriage. Both grieved when Diana died in a car crash in 1997, and they both watched when Harry's big brother William married the former Kate Middleton. Roberts and her bestie, Katie Jo Donahue, see these joyful matches as a triumph for Diana - a sort of karma.

NICOLE ROBERTS: I just - I feel like I'm wrapped up in this royal wedding specifically because I feel like she would be beaming right now.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #6: Her son is really happy.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #7: She has the last word. She really does.

BATES: Roberts loves seeing Megan Markle's mother given such respect and prominence.

ROBERTS: Her mother's sitting at the front.


ROBERTS: They told us to sit at the back of the bus, but now we're are at the front of the royal wedding.

BATES: It's a moment that makes her tear up a bit.

ROBERTS: We get pegged as, like, welfare mothers or, you know, every stereotype out there, so that was really inspiring to me, and that's why I got all wrapped up it - especially when I saw her mom because I knew what this meant for her and I knew what this meant for the world.

BATES: The integration of African-American culture into the couple's wedding ceremony got high praise, from the Kingdom Choir's rendition of "Stand By Me..."


THE KINGDOM CHOIR: (Singing) So darling, darling, stand by me.

BATES: ...To the rousing address by the Most Reverend Michael Curry, there were reminders that Meghan Markle brings her own heritage to this union.


MICHAEL CURRY: Everything in the holy prophets, everything in the scriptures, everything that God has been trying to tell the world - love God. Love your neighbors.

BATES: Nicole Roberts says the new duchess of Sussex will probably change the royals as much as the royals might change her.

ROBERTS: I think she's always been somebody, from what I've seen of her, who leads. And I think she's going to be a very vocal person. I think she's going to be very careful about how she speaks, but I don't think she's abandoning who she is.

BATES: These women believe being herself could be the best thing Megan Markle can do for her new family.

Karen Grigsby Bates, NPR News.


THE KINGDOM CHOIR: (Singing) So darling, darling, stand by me. Oh, stand by me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Karen Grigsby Bates is the Senior Correspondent for Code Switch, a podcast that reports on race and ethnicity. A veteran NPR reporter, Bates covered race for the network for several years before becoming a founding member of the Code Switch team. She is especially interested in stories about the hidden history of race in America—and in the intersection of race and culture. She oversees much of Code Switch's coverage of books by and about people of color, as well as issues of race in the publishing industry. Bates is the co-author of a best-selling etiquette book (Basic Black: Home Training for Modern Times) and two mystery novels; she is also a contributor to several anthologies of essays. She lives in Los Angeles and reports from NPR West.