Preacher Michael Curry, who stole the show at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding, has revealed how he felt right after he finished his now-famous 14-minute sermon.
The last thing on his mind was that his raising-the-rafters address would spark global publicity and a mix of support, criticism and bemusement.
“In all honesty I just had no idea,” the instant celebrity told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on May 21.
“When I finished the sermon I sat down and I remember thinking to myself, ‘I hope it was okay’.
Bishop Curry, who had his sermon on an iPad but seemingly didn’t refer to it, admitted he “may” have gone off both the script and the clock.
“I may have diverged a bit, ad-libbed a bit,” he said.
As to one of his lines which cut through most – “We gotta get y’all married” – Bishop Curry, 65, called it “sort of a last transition point” in his address.
“I was aware it was about time to wrap it up and I was asking permission,” he said. “Give me another minute!”
Bishop Curry’s passion gained him celebrity fans:
BISHOP MICHAEL CURRY GIVING ME LIFE 🔥🔥♥️🙏🏾
— Naomi Campbell (@NaomiCampbell) May 19, 2018
While acknowledging it was a “heady audience” to preach to, Bishop Curry said as he warmed to his task, “I just became a regular parish priest”.
He said Meghan and Harry’s obvious love for each other made him feel he was just “talking to a young couple who was getting married”.
Asked if the gravity of the occasion affected him, Bishop Curry gave an insider tip.
He said being ordained “not quite 40 years” has taught him to deal with any wedding nerves.
“Over the years I’ve realised that when I’ve married couples … if I speak to the souls and the hearts of that couple you’ll probably find you’re speaking to the souls of all those who are gathered around”.
Bishop Curry was scouted for the spotlit job in a phone call from Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury.
He met Harry and Meghan “at the wedding” because the royal couple did their “premarital counselling and work” at St George’s Chapel.
But Bishop Curry said the now-Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s personal choice of a passage from The Song of Solomon inspired his sermon.
It was read by Princess Diana’s sister Lady Jane Fellowes.
“It’s a fabulous text,” the bishop said.
“It actually is love poetry between a man and a woman. The woman actually senses that their love between the two of them is part of a greater love.”
He said he felt in “some small and wonderful way” God was sending a message to the royal family and everyone else.
“Last time I checked, even in the world of biology, if you have the same parent you are related to [a] person”, the bishop said.
“And the truth is we got the same parent which means we are all related, whether we are royal or not, whether we are black or white, red, yellow, brown, gay, straight, rich, poor.”
The Chicago-born churchman, whose great-great-grandparents were slaves, was asked by Amanpour what he was thinking bringing up “powerful imagery” in front of “the whitest of white families”.
He replied, “I was honesty thinking that if we could just harness the real power of love we could actually change and transform this world.
“That was what was driving me.”
The first black presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church, Bishop Curry has personal credentials on the subjects of love and marriage.
He has been married for decades to former church organist Sharon Clement, and they have daughters Rachel, a self-employed mother, and Elizabeth, a school teacher.
On his Facebook page, Bishop Curry sometimes shares old and new photos of his family.