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05/19/2018 11:28 EDT | Updated 05/19/2018 22:58 EDT

Prince Harry And Meghan Markle's Choice Of 'Stand By Me' Helped Modernize The Royal Wedding

It made a statement both musically and politically.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the newly named Duke and Duchess of Sussex, surprised their guests with a gospel choir doing a powerful rendition of "Stand By Me" during the royal wedding at Windsor Castle on Saturday.

The song is a significant choice. First recorded by Ben E. King and released in 1961, it became an anthem for political progress and has been heard at many a black church service.

Karen Gibson and the Kingdom Choir, a London-based gospel choir, performed the song for the couple from the west end of St. George's Chapel at the castle.

Harry's marriage to Meghan, an American woman with a black mother and a white father, is regarded as an inclusive step for the British royal family.

The couple sat holding hands as they listened to "Stand By Me," with its themes of love and loyalty, after an address by Rev. Michael Curry, shortly before taking their vows.

The song was one of many unexpected modern touches at Saturday's wedding.

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