Ian Payne 4am - 7am
The Firm's new recruit
19 May 2018, 20:47 | Updated: 19 May 2018, 21:01
It was a great day, as though the Queen's silversmith had personally buffed Windsor to a sparkle for Meghan Markle.
No doubt about it, the sunshine, the dresses, hats, flowers, stars, horses, carriages and regalia looked fantastic. It was a terrific show.
You could have put on a show like for your wedding, if you too weren't paying for it.
At home we peered to see who got the best seats. The Clooneys appeared to be the tip toppermost stars there and were sat up the front.
The Queen managed to bag the best spot, despite arriving just in the nick of time, as usual. How does she manage it?
The bride arrived in a dress so huge it looked like she had got her foot caught in a marquee and was dragging it behind her.
Why do brides have to dress like that, as though they have no purpose other than to look good as an arm adornment for a man?
The groom was kitted out in some form-fitting and ergonomically correct gear in which, if necessary, he could have changed the tyre on the car that brought him there.
The bride was swathed in diaphanous meringue clouds so awkward she needed the assistance of at least two page persons to help her up the stairs.
Plus – white. Really?
The strains of a female chorister faded into echo and the religious bit began.
It was God this and God that as though the Almighty didn't have enough on Her plate what with all the strife happening on this planet, let alone all the other planets in Her purview.
Archbishop Justin Welby hoved into view in an outfit that was so bright it was hard to look at him.
He appeared to have been caught in indecision in a gay jewellers and decided to wear the lot.
At least he was commendably brief.
The same can not be said of the American religionist that took over from him. It was like James Brown had walked on stage at an Enya concert.
He went on and on and on like he was auditioning for his own TV show.
Did anyone actually vet that speech, or was he just making it up off the top of his head?
It seemed as though at any moment he would punt for donations for your own personal prayer – have your credit card ready and call the number on your screens and you shall be saved, praise the Lord.
He droned on so long I forgot what we were there for.
If ever there was a need to reinstate the vaudeville comedy sheep hook for acts that outstayed their welcome, it was then.
After what seemed and age, he climbed down from his religious fervour to address the happy couple, saying that he was going to sit down now as “we've got to get you married”, after which he continued to speak as though he hadn't heard himself.
A brief wave of hope that he might be finished was extinguished as he traced the history of Man from the Stone Age to the Bronze Age, the Industrial Revolution and the rise of the internet, all the while burbling about love, love, love.
Donald Trump makes more sense. At one point he actually asked those present to nod if they came by car. Heads were nodding all right, but not in agreement.
There followed the sweet relief of some music. A gospel choir sang a Ben E. King song, which was nice but oddly loose-limbed in such stiff surroundings.
It seemed like an attempt to wrest some modern multiculturalism out of a conventional and very old-fashioned ritual.
Formality was resumed by the reappearance of Welby, at which point there followed more God stuff.
The union was being overseen by God and the promises of faithfulness were expressed under God's watchful eye, and God was expecting a lot judging by the number of mentions God got.
The trouble is, God has heard all that before. Almost half of all the marriages that God has witnessed end in divorce.
All those declarations of “'till death us do part” don't mean much.
They are just something people feel expected to say, and they certainly don't believe in God or they would be fearful of being caught lying to Him.
Meghan Markle promised God she would be faithful for ever and ever but she presumably promised the same thing the last time she got married.
If people are so unafraid of God that they casually lie openly to Him in His own house, perhaps they should stop the pretence and take God out of the equation.
I don't know much about religion but I am fairly sure that God wouldn't appreciate all the shallow assurances of people that wrap themselves in the bits of the religion they like – the pomp and ceremony, but don't actually believe in it enough to carry out their solemn undertakings.
The cellist was nice and the carriage procession, with mounted military, kit gleaming, horses bouncing, crowd waving, was a tremendous sight.
Those watching in the rest of the world should know that it is not always picture perfect weather here – the throng got lucky.
Meghan looked like she fitted right in to the old Firm.
She is an actress after all – looking comfortable in weird surroundings is what she does for a living.
She has probably not experienced anything quite as odd or unforgiving as her new family, though.
If those in the royal orbit, who have inherited money and have never needed to work, call the mother of Prince William's wife “”Doors to manual” because she was once so low as to have an actual job as an air hostess, can you imagine what they will call a mixed race foreign actress from a poor broken home?
I wish her luck.