Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have invited an American bishop to give the address at the royal wedding on May 19.
Kensington Palace announced Saturday in a tweet that the Most Rev. Michael Curry, the head of the Episcopal Church, will be part of the nuptials at Windsor Castle.
“The love that has brought and will bind Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle together has its source and origin in God, and is the key to life and happiness,” Curry, the church’s presiding bishop, said in a statement. “And so we celebrate and pray for them today.”
A break from royal tradition
Harry and Markle’s choice of an American pastor is a break from royal custom. Traditionally, addresses at royal weddings are given by senior clergy from the Church of England.
The Episcopal Church is largely known as the US branch of the Anglican Communion, which includes the Church of England.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the leader of the Church of England and spiritual head of the Anglican Communion, gave his blessing to Curry’s invitation.
“I’m thrilled that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have asked Bishop Michael Curry to preach at their wedding,” Welby wrote on Twitter. “@PB_Curry is a brilliant pastor, stunning preacher and someone with a great gift for sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.”
While Curry will give the sermon, Welby will officiate the ceremony, and the Rev. David Conner, the dean of Windsor, will conduct the service.
The Episcopal Church’s first black leader
Curry became the Episcopal Church’s first African-American leader when he was elected in 2015. But he was known even before that.
He gained fame for his 2012 sermon “We need some crazy Christians.” In the sermon, Curry, who was then the bishop of North Carolina, quoted several versions of the Bible characterizing Jesus as someone who was thought to be out of his mind.
“They thought he was crazy!” Curry proclaimed to laughter. “And he was! He is!”
He went on to say that the followers of Jesus need those same characteristics.
“And those who would follow in his footsteps, those who would be his disciples, are called and summoned and challenged to be just as crazy as Jesus.”
Curry’s sermon went viral and was eventually turned into a book titled “Crazy Christians: A Call to Follow Jesus.”