People of Ilford were treated to a right royal celebration in Ilford town centre today at an event that celebrated the marriage of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle – a truly British occasion.
The mixed-race background of Meghan Markle inspires many people of Britain as many believe her to be the first ever princess with African heritage. A question that cannot be answered with any certainty due to a possibility based on conjecture and unverifiable evidence that Queen Charlotte who was married to George III may have been mixed race. You can read more about this (here)
Either way a Royal wedding is still a day of huge anticipation and festivities across most of the country and brings British people together in a way that no other event can. In the 1990’s the Royals lost a lot of their popularity and Brit Pop band The Smiths especially their lead singer Morrissey was one of the loudest opponents against the retention of a monarchy (click here).
In modern times however the Queen and her family have seen a resurgence in their popularity and recent polls would suggest that 68% of the UK population now favours retention of the royal family (click here). Evidence would suggest that this popularity traverses all political parties and sectors of society.
Here in Redbridge the BPCA, EIBP and Ilford High Road Baptist Church collaborated to make the joy of the royal wedding more tangible locally. To wish the couple well, a street party was organised in our town centre. Sandwiches, cakes and drinks were shared and diverse visitors of various backgrounds enjoyed conversations about the royal family and other topics of interest. Some of the volunteers wore masks with the facial images of many of the existing royal family and visitors asked for photographs with them full of merriment.
Throughout the day people rested weary feet for a small snack, chat and just to be involved in the town centre jolly.
Pastor Andrew of Ilford High Road Baptist Church, said:
“The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan was such a happy occasion … and a rare piece of good news among so many troubles and suffering in the world at this time.
“As a church we have very good news to share at all times and therefore High Road Baptist Church is pleased to be part of a week-long series of events in the town centre spreading a little happiness. Come and meet us any afternoon this week and then on Saturday and Monday when there will be a bouncy castle, craft and lots of fun for all ages.”
During the rest of the week tea, coffee and cake will be served for people seeking some respite from the weariness of shopping. From Saturday – Bank Holiday Monday a Bouncy Castle and children’s games will be present in Ilford Town centre for families to kick start their half-term holiday in royal style.
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said:
“In our pluralistic society with an extremely diverse matrix of people it is often difficult to see the linkage between local people of different backgrounds. However our rich tapestry of culture and passion has become interwoven. The baseline similarity between us is our humanity and for what it’s worth our British identity.
“On days like a royal wedding and the Queens jubilee we experience a universal pride in the nations heritage that encompasses us all and enables us to put aside other differences and revel in such occasions. The great things about British heritage is that people of all backgrounds have contributed to it, so many of us are able to gain a sense of pride and belonging to Britain in a way few nations can imagine.
“New migrants who have not been in the UK for long sense the historic value of the monarchy and the contribution they make to help make Britain great through their ambassadorial role and by way of the royal prerogative, which is an ever present counter-balance to dictatorial rule.
“So when a member of the royal family gets married it is a moment of celebration for us all. It is a chance for us to reflect on the freedoms we have in this country, the rule of law that keeps us safe and the pomp and pageantry that make our nation the fascination and envy of the world.”
“Prince Harry’s particular choice of wife and the ease in which it was allowed despite historic reservations, illustrates how far Britain has moved towards accepting the equality of humankind.
“Jesus told us to love our neighbour as we love ourselves and Queen Elizabeth II has been at the cusp of great change in Britain, where laws have gone further to bring equality to our nation then ever before. May God bless her rule and the monarchs that follow her for as long as He chooses their reign to continue in Britain.”
BPCA researcher Keri-Lynn Gibbs commented:
“Though many see the impact of officiated events such as these as monumental and historic in a very public family line, the reality is these are two individuals engaging in a choice to solemnize their lifelong commitment to each other, not only in front of witnesses, but before God. As fun and festive as the royal wedding may be it is really not about fashion or celebrities, but about the royals honouring marriage as worthwhile. The fact that Prince Harry has chosen a bride is an exemplar that marriage is still important in society and despite its considerable neglect still worth engaging in. Perhaps the example of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and this generation of the royal family will encourage other couples to heed the message preached at their nuptials, see God as the source of love and marriage as God’s plan for the family.”
Monthly community fayres like this have been programmed for the entirety of the year and will all have different themes. if you would like to receive a diary of dates and events for our town centre events, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
People in Redbridge are being asked to sign a wedding card and book of congratulations and best wishes for the Royal Couple Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
The book will be in Ilford Town Centre at the Community stall outside the Town Hall for the whole of this week and during Bank Holiday Monday during the festivities in the town centre.
After this the book will be passed through religious groups and council groups before being posted to the couple to represent the people of Redbridge.