The Bishop of London’s Address at the 2011 Royal Wedding

The wedding was glorious, understated, elegant, and honorable.

(You can access the official program HERE. All things related to the wedding, videos, photographs, etc., can all be found HERE.)

The two highlights for me were:

First, when Kate’s brother magnificently read Romans 12: 1, 2, 9-18. It’s message, though written almost two thousand years ago, was perfect for today’s world which is experiencing so much turmoil, hate and violence. Here is a message which transcends all of that and points to the source of true hope. I’m so grateful that it’s message was heard on every continent. I pray that it will be taken to heart by every living human being.

Secondly, I was really moved by the Bishop of London’s Address/Sermon. When I heard it I immediately thought that everyone should have an opportunity to hear/read and meditate on its words. Thanks to Twitter friend, Paul Gardner (@PGardnerNZ) from New Zealand, I found a transcript HERE.


29th April 2011

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” So said St Catherine of Siena whose festival day it is today. Marriage is intended to be a way in which man and woman help each other to become what God meant each one to be, their deepest and truest selves.

Many are full of fear for the future of the prospects of our world but the message of the celebrations in this country and far beyond its shores is the right one – this is a joyful day! It is good that people in every continent are able to share in these celebrations because this is, as every wedding day should be, a day of hope.

In a sense every wedding is a royal wedding with the bride and the groom as king and queen of creation, making a new life together so that life can flow through them into the future.

William and Catherine, you have chosen to be married in the sight of a generous God who so loved the world that he gave himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ.

And in the Spirit of this generous God, husband and wife are to give themselves to each another.

A spiritual life grows as love finds its centre beyond ourselves. Faithful and committed relationships offer a door into the mystery of spiritual life in which we discover this; the more we give of self, the richer we become in soul; the more we go beyond ourselves in love, the more we become our true selves and our spiritual beauty is more fully revealed. In marriage we are seeking to bring one another into fuller life.

It is of course very hard to wean ourselves away from self-centredness. And people can dream of doing such a thing but the hope should be fulfilled it is necessary a solemn decision that, whatever the difficulties, we are committed to the way of generous love. …

You have both made your decision today – “I will” – and by making this new relationship, you have aligned yourselves with what we believe is the way in which life is spiritually evolving, and which will lead to a creative future for the human race.

We stand looking forward to a century which is full of promise and full of peril. Human beings are confronting the question of how to use wisely a power that has been given to us through the discoveries of the last century. We shall not be converted to the promise of the future by more knowledge, but rather by an increase of loving wisdom and reverence, for life, for the earth and for one another.

Marriage should transform, as husband and wife make one another their work of art. It is possible to transform as long as we do not harbour ambitions to reform our partner. … (Please continue reading the rest of this short, wonderful address HERE.)

Your thoughts?

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49 Responses to “The Bishop of London’s Address at the 2011 Royal Wedding”

  1. Hi Bernardina,

    Thank you for your comment. I’d love to hear your view.

    I loved that the focus of the wedding’s content was on serving the other person. A movement away from self-centeredness.

    From the address: “A spiritual life grows as love finds its centre beyond ourselves. Faithful and committed relationships offer a door into the mystery of spiritual life in which we discover this; the more we give of self, the richer we become in soul; the more we go beyond ourselves in love, the more we become our true selves and our spiritual beauty is more fully revealed. In marriage we are seeking to bring one another into fuller life.”

    Our world today seems to emphasize, “my rights,” “my self-actualization,” oftentimes to the disregard and even harm of others.

    The spiritual emphasis at the wedding was so hopeful to me. If our world could adopt this type of love, not only would our marriages be so much more beautiful and peaceful, but so would the world at large.

    Have you had an opportunity to read Romans 12, the passage read at the wedding? If not, take a few minutes and read it.

    A few of the verses that particularly stood out to me were:

    … 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

    3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

    … 9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

    14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

    17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

    … 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

    It’s my belief that we need more of this in our world.

  2. i don’t get what you’ve said, but i always appreciate different points of views.

  3. I was very pleased and indeed surprised at the Christ-centeredness of this ceremony. I admire Kate very much and think she’s a great role model for young women all over the world. From what I’ve read about her as a college student, she walked uprightly and was a true-blue lady. She never got drunk, never gave the appearance of any kind of evil. That’s quite an accomplishment in the college environment she lived in. I do hope she can stand up under the pressure and has a relationship with the One Who gives us strength!

  4. Thanks. Well said.

  5. This was amazing…

    2billion people around the world watched as the bible was read out. Those listeners were told there is a God in heaven who loves them and sent His Son to rescue them…AND…The fact that the western world has turned away from God is the reason for the busted relationships we see in our society as people put too much pressure on relationships to make them feel fulfilled and content…our source is meant to be God-not people…the bishop said it beautifully.

  6. this was a realy great sermon, truely direct from God, no dought. thx 4 posting this & pray dat it will b a reference 2 many people world over 4 a long tym! GBU.

  7. As the Queen is the head of the Church of England and takes her faith and her role very seriously and the fact that, God willing, William will take over her role as the head of the Church of England (, I was expecting a reasonably Christ-filled service, but I am glad (and as an Englishman, quite proud) that it proclaimed the truth of God’s sovereignty and design so clearly.

    It gives me great hope for the young couple.

    Of course, we can never judge someone’s heart, especially when all we see is what the media shows us, but I truly hope that this ceremony was indicative of their beliefs and faith and that they follow the lead of William’s Grandmother in attempting to walk out their faith in the positions they gave been given by God.

  8. Uh, oh. Better start saving, bigtime!!

  9. Yes. Me, too.

  10. Great perspective. Thank you.

  11. I think we should count ourselves extremely fortunate that while so much of the world seems to find it necessary to be on the streets riotting we had 1 million on the streets celebrating a marriage, and a royal marriage at that. The monarchy gives stability to the country, provokes loyaty and patriotism and seems to work for us/
    The whole service was a fantastic occasion, and the Bishop’s address was a good mixture of substance, common sense and applied Christianity.
    I was sorry not to be in London, but enjoyed watching it with relatives.
    The royal couple showed so much poise and confidence, keeping in mind they were being watched by about a quarter of the worlds population. Many of these folk envy our monarchy and we should be glad to have this gift in place.

    Richard Blyth

  12. I was really impressed with the prayer the couple composed.

  13. Thank you for posting this, Gail. I LOVED the wedding…not just for its regal beauty, but for a ceremony that was overwhelmingly Christian. It was joyful worship. Kate’s brother’s elocution of Romans was powerful, and that message was bold (considering the various wedding guests relationships sitting in the pews) and inspiring.

    I was thrilled to watch it with my single 20 year old daughter – who now wants a horse-drawn carriage and military fly-over for her future wedding. =)

  14. The more I have thought about it, the more I actually liked that part about the royal weddings.

    We, as children of the King, are royalty. I felt like the Bishop was using this royal wedding to remind us of our own royalty and the responsibility that goes along with it.

    We are princes and princesses. We have a responsibility to reflect the King himself and to carry on His heritage. So our weddings are royal marriages. The King himself is present at them.

    Something new, at a wedding, is being created. A new family, a new legacy. What is created through it can be very powerful—either for good or for bad.

    I felt like this part of the talk set the tone for the rest of the Bishop’s charge to Prince William and Kate.

    Thank you so much for your comments. I love this discussion.

  15. 🙂

  16. Yes it is. For every cynic who is criticizing the wedding, there are many who received hope, maybe for the first time, that honorable marriages are possible and that we have a part to play in spreading love and peace and joy.

    I love this quote:

    “As we move towards our partner in love, following the example of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is quickened within us and can increasingly fill our lives with light. This leads to a family life which offers the best conditions in which the next generation can practise and exchange those gifts which can overcome fear and division and incubate the coming world of the Spirit, whose fruits are love and joy and peace.” (found toward the end of the talk)

  17. They will have a difficult road ahead, with all of the public attention, etc. I pray that their lives will bring glory to God as much as the wedding did.

  18. You are welcome.

  19. Yes. (See my comment to Peter above.)

  20. … and Pam 🙂

  21. Very good point. That’s why we have to be very careful to take things in their context. Taking things out of context has gotten is lots of trouble.

    Maybe it has to do with expectations as well. I wasn’t expecting Christ to be honored so overtly at this wedding. And I was grateful (it was someone’s choice) that He was. I was pleased knowing that people from all over the world were watching and seeing such a loving and generous God presented.

    For me the wedding was a blessing. It was understated and beautiful and gave glory to God and to the institution of marriage. We have far too little of that these days.

    Thanks for your thoughts, Peter.

  22. Yes, I thought his sermon was amazing, too. Agree that the fuzziest part was the ‘all weddings are Royal Weddings’ line, which just didn’t really seem to sit with the flow of the rest.

    Amazing to hear someone preaching to the world that the way to live as flourishing human beings is to practice generous love and ‘wean ourselves of selfishness’. Well done Bishop Richard!

  23. Ashwood Caesar April 30, 2011 at 4:04 am

    I too was moved by the service, it was a light into the world reminding us all about the sanctity and sacredness of marriage. It was as if the Lords spirit came down for a brief moment to remind us all of what is really important.

    Thank you Gail for the post, it was definetly the good news

  24. Peter, when I heard it during the ceremony it struck my spirit as being humanistic. . .I have appreciated reading these thoughts on the remark.

  25. I was prepared to be cynical and judgmental about the amount of press coverage this event was receiving today, especially in light of all the tragedy in the world recently. “Where are our priorities?”, I asked myself. But then my heart was warmed by the gentility and pageantry of the day. So many people the world over were smiling and vicariously sharing the joy of this young couple. It seemed we kind of needed something hopeful and beautiful (like this!) to balance the darkness that usually leads the news.

    The spiritual symbolism of a wedding and the Bishop’s inspiring message – which you posted here – cause me to recognize God’s hand in the whole thing. Isn’t that just like Him?

    Thanks, Gail, for this post!

  26. I was very disappointed by the wording of that statement.

    While I understand the meaning he is trying to convey, I think he could have written it a little better.

    In the context of his message, it is fine.

    If removed from the message, though, that statement removes God from the equation and elevates us to the level of the creator.

    That’s really just nit-picking though.

    It was a wonderful address and an excellent way to share the gospel to an audience which is estimated to be as much as a third of the world’s population.

  27. I was so blessed to hear this address by the Bishop of London. What a message of wisdom,hope and faith. I was encouraged that this young couple began their lives before God. Thank you for posting this.

  28. Awesome Illustrations throughout the Royal Wedding today
    4-29-11 – Thanks Gail, In Jesus Name. May Prince William
    and Kate’s Wedding be a teaching tool, because it painted
    a Glorious Picture PSALM 128:5, Thanks again for Posting.

  29. I was happily impressed with the ceremony this morning – seeing it as a witness to Christ and testimony for marriage & family – broadcast worldwide!

  30. Oops! Thank you. Now corrected.

  31. Your advice is well taken re: the address of London’s bishop and we would do ourselves a service to “meditate on its words;” however, may I draw your attention, Gail, to your use of “it’s.” which means it is. The apostrophe is not used with a possessive pronoun.

  32. Thanks Gail. I agree…doesn’t mean he doesn’t believe it. It just seemed so strong about the Lord when I read it the first way and the second one doesn’t do that for me nearly as much.

    Yes, you are right. We are made in the image of God. I am glad God’s word and a positive message was portrayed the world over today.

    Thanks for the dialog and letting me share.

    Here’s a link to something I wrote about the wedding today if you might be interested.

    Beth Beutler

  33. I’m thinking that just because he didn’t say that particular quote about being subjects to the King of Creation, doesn’t mean that he wouldn’t believe it to be true. In fact, I think that is what his address was illustrating.

    The second quote, the original quote, is wonderful, too. As you know, we are created in the image of God. He is THE King, we are little kings and queens (princes and princes). HE is THE Creator, we are little creators, procreators.

    I think what I love about that statement, and the emphasis of what he was saying, was that we have the ability to spread love and self-lessness (taught to us and modeled to us by the Son of God himself) in this world, starting with our very own family (our offspring).

    This is what we need to be reminded of so desperately and why I loved this talk so much.

  34. While I agree there is some good content, I was disappointed to find out that a quote I had heard earlier today as:

    “Every wedding is a Royal Wedding for we are all subjects of the King of Creation”

    turns out to be

    “In a sense every wedding is a royal wedding with the bride and the groom as king and queen of creation, making a new life together so that life can flow through them into the future.”

    This is significantly different in meaning and it saddens me some. I’m still glad for what was shared, and the reading of scripture for the world to hear is wonderful, but that first quote (however it was first generated) is an absolutely beautiful portrayal of our true focus as compared to the second…and it is too bad we cannot attribute it to the speaker after all.

  35. It really was.

  36. “… not at pomp but at the substance.”

    It was, indeed, a glorious global surprise!

  37. Sometimes we’re just taken aback in awe!! Awe not at the pomp but at the substance.

    It was a glorious global surprise:)))

  38. I agree! I loved the Bishop’s sermon. It was so full of truth and wisdom.

  39. Yep. I want to do more research to find out how much of it was actually by their choice.

  40. That’s why I wanted to post the content. It is worth reading and re-reading.

  41. I was also struck by the reading of Romans as well as the sermon. My heart swelled at the love of William and Catherine and how they chose to use their wedding to bring glory to Jesus Christ.

  42. I loved this sermon as well! I’ve also been moved by how easily the world joins in the hope and celebration of today despite the history of divorce so prevalent in our world and in the royal family. It seems so evident that we are made to hope and to believe in something greater than ourselves.

  43. It was a wonderful ceremony full of truth and inspiration from God’s word! I hope people actually listened to what was being said, as it will truly be life changing to live out those truths.

    Thanks for posting this Gail 🙂

  44. I LOVED the ceremony. It was totally God-glorifying and wonderful! It far exceeded my expectations.


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