Michael Curry, primate of the US Episcopal Church (TEC), has been named as the preacher at the Royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle next week.
Curry is the first African-American to have served as the Church's presiding bishop and is known for a warm and engaging personality and as a dynamic preacher.
A supporter of same-sex marriage, he has helped drive through TEC's acceptance of gay marriage, most recently via proposals to change its marriage service to a gender-neutral version that removes the word 'procreation' from the reasons why people get married.
He said on Facebook: 'The love that has brought and will bind Prince Harry and Ms Meghan Markle together has its source and origin in God, and is the key to life and happiness. And so we celebrate and pray for them today.'
The archbishop of Canterbury said on Twitter: 'I'm thrilled that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have asked Bishop Michael Curry to preach at their wedding. @PB_Curry is a brilliant pastor, stunning preacher and someone with a great gift for sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.'
I'm thrilled that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have asked Bishop Michael Curry to preach at their wedding. @PB_Curry is a brilliant pastor, stunning preacher and someone with a great gift for sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.— Archbishop of Canterbury (@JustinWelby) May 12, 2018
The choice will be seen as highly appropriate for a very modern royal wedding. A fellow American who shares Meghan Markle's African-American heritage, Curry is also a moderniser who has publicly resisted the populist and nationalist agenda of Donald Trump. While his support for gay marriage has been a thorn in the side of the Church of England and contributed to strains in the Anglican Communion, it will do nothing to detract from his appeal to the wider British population.
The service will be conducted by the dean of Windsor, the Rt Rev David Conner, and the vows will be administered by the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.