Kerber looked understandably nervous as she served for the match at 5-3 but could celebrate when Williams netted a backhand on her first match point.
After a controversially delayed start she defended her baseline brilliantly to extract 24 unforced errors from an often wayward Williams and clinch her third Grand Slam title. The 36-year-old American takes on Angelique Kerber, who lost to Williams in the 2016 final.
She remains on 23 grand slam titles, one short of the all-time record of Margaret Court - just as Woods most likely will find it hard to advance from 14 majors, four behind Jack Nicklaus.
While today marks her first appearance in the royal box at Wimbledon, this isn't the first time Meghan has gone to the tournament.
Williams dialled in quickly, however and soon 0-2 became 3-2, sealed with a 125 miles per hour ace. After another two months away, she played in the French Open in May, withdrawing in the fourth round with an injured pectoral muscle.
So far this tournament Williams has progressed serenely and dropped just the one set against Camila Giorgi in the quarter-final.
But with the clock ticking, and having already celebrated her 28th birthday, Kerber stunned Williams in the 2016 Australian Open final to claim her maiden Grand Slam title.
Williams spoke about her "wonderful friendship" with Meghan following her match Thursday, when she defeated Julia Georges in straight sets to advance to Saturday's final.
When Serena made another mistake to lose the next game, she gestured to her coaching team with a look of depair.
"I mean, even this week, I had a pain in my leg, and I went to the worst-case scenario: 'Oh, my God, I have a (pulmonary embolism) in my leg, '" Williams said. Two of those matches came in Grand Slam finals.