The biggest news out of Serena Williams's Vogue cover story is that the tennis legend would be retiring from the sport. However, for royal watchers, Williams also shared some insight into Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's royal wedding.
In a video breaking down 22 of her most famous outfits, Williams reminisces about her friend's special day while looking at a photo of her and her husband Alexis Ohanian at Windsor Castle.
"I love this image," Williams says in the video. "This is at the royal wedding, when my friend Meghan married Harry." For the occasion, Williams opted for a pink Versace look paired with Bulgari jewels.
"What's so iconic about this is I was like, 'Royal wedding? I'm definitely wearing braids,'" she says with smile.
"All night, they were braiding my hair. It was two girls, or three girls, braiding my hair. I was so tired, and I was like, I'm going to sleep. So I lie down, and then they just kept braiding until morning and they finally finished," she recalls.
"It was a very long process but it was so worth it."
At the start of Williams's career, she and her sister Venus often wore their hair in braids with beads adorning them. Braids quickly became their signature hairstyle.
"Those tiny braids, heavy and laden with beads from root to tip were more than just a hairstyle for many Black people who watched the pair play and win in the early days of their careers," writes Jihan Forbes in Allure. "It was a display of unapologetic Blackness, pride, and a bat signal to young Black boys and girls across the world that there was a place for us in this white-dominated sport. We didn't have to conform to the traditional look of a tennis player in order to fit in. In this case, it was better to stand out."
After giving birth, Williams passed the hair braiding tradition to her baby daughter, Olympia. In an Instagram post in 2019, Williams posted a photograph of her braiding Olympia's hair. In the caption, she writes, "Braiding started in Africa with the Himba people of Namibia. We have been braiding her hair for centuries... Because of the time it would take people would often take the time to socialize. It began with the elders braiding their children, then the children would watch and learn from them."
She continued, "The tradition of bonding was carried on for generations, and quickly made its way across the world. I am honored to share this bonding experience with my own daughter and add another generation of historic traditions."
Williams may have been thinking of this historic tradition when she decided to wear her hair in braids to Meghan and Harry's wedding.
Williams and Markle first became friends in 2010, when they met at the Super Bowl. Since, the two have publicly and privately supported each other. Markle can often be spotted in the stands to cheer Williams on during major tennis tournaments, and Williams has opened up about Markle's strength in leaving the royal family.
"Meghan is a great person and I think the epitome of strength, the epitome of confidence, the epitome of just selflessness, and the epitome of everything is just her and everything that she's gone through," she said last year. "And I know it's not easy, and you can see from the [Oprah] interview that it wasn't easy. But she had so much poise and she still had so much class. I just think that she is the strongest person I know. I don't know anyone else that could handle everything on such a global scale the way that she's had to handle things that are just untrue, minute after minute. Not even day after day, just minute after minute, another untrue allegation being thrown at her."
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