The prince and his princess arrived 45 minutes late.
But even under the scorching sun, this was not too much for Buganda, which had waited more than 50 years for another Catholic royal wedding.
And so, hundreds of guests, including Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II, Nnaabagereka Sylvia Nagginda, and Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, waited patiently inside Lubaga cathedral, until Prince David Kintu Wasajja and Marion Elizabeth Nankya made their entry.
Outside, Kampala Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, Emmanuel Cardinal Wamala, Bishops John Baptist Kaggwa (Masaka), Mathias Ssekamaanya (Lugazi), Christopher Kakooza (Kampala) and several priests braved the sun. At one time they took refuge in the church, before returning to wait.
Finally, at 12:45pm, the prince arrived, alongside his groomsmen, Princes Khalifan Lukanga Kakukungulu and Crispin Jjunju Kiweewa. Two minutes later, the bride swept into the compound in a black Mercedes Benz, and to a thunderous applause from a crowd that could not get inside the church.
“This is the first Catholic royal wedding since Independence,” Dr Kizito Lwanga said as he began his 50-minute homily. The first royal wedding to be presided over by the Catholic Church was Joseph Musanje, son to the 33rd Kabaka of Buganda Muguluma Kalema, on November 18, 1907. The second one was for Prince Alfred Kato Kiggala, son of the late Kabaka Daudi Chwa II, in 1961.
Dr Kizito Lwanga was excited that he was sealing a union that began after his 2012 Easter sermon.
“This is a historic moment for us as a church, this cathedral stands where Ssekabaka Mutesa I had his palace. It is here that he met the first Catholic missionaries, and it is here that this couple met. My Easter sermon last year started it; they got closer during a luncheon at my residence later that day,” the archbishop said amidst applause.
He later invited the couple to perform a revised version of the marriage rite. For example, where a priest would ask if there is any member of the congregation with a reason stopping the marriage, the archbishop instead asked if the parents had approved the marriage to which the Kabaka and the Nnaabagereka (for Prince Wasajja) and Bukoto South MP Mathias Nsubuga Birekeraawo and his wife Jolly Kawaya Nsubuga answered in the affirmative.
“Born 27 years ago, and getting married on April 27 to her [Nankya’s] best friend and the love of her life was of great excitement to her for which she has to offer great thanks to the Lord,” Archbishop Lwanga said in reference to a message that Nankya gave him.
For Prince Wasajja, he hailed God for having saved him death inside his mother’s womb when government forces attacked his father’s palace in 1966.
“Prince Wasajja is also thankful for having been born a prince, and for being brought up well despite being born at a time when the kingdom had been abolished by the government,” his message read.
32 cows richer
The Ankole royal family, Prince Wasajja’s maternal uncles, led by Prince Edward Kiraka (the family head) gave the couple 32 heads of cattle, describing Wasajja as a testimony of the strong bond between Buganda and Ankole kingdoms. Princess Dorothy Namukaabya Nassolo, speaking on behalf of Buganda royals asked Nankya to find peace in the royal family.
Why i took long
At the first ever royal reception in the Mengo palace, Prince Wasajja thanked his bride for taking the courage to marry him. He noted that many girls feared princes because they perceived them to be lazy or naughty.
“For those of you who have been asking me why I took long to marry, I think you have the answer today. I don’t rush into doing things,” he said.
Several artistes performed at the function, with Jose Chameleon forcing Prince Elizabeth Bagaya of Tooro off her seat at the high table to the stage to dance with him – perfect, on a day when royalty bonded with a commoner.