Prince Harry And Meghan Markle’s Private Garden ‘Wedding’ Violated Church Law, Experts Say
In this file photo taken on May 19, 2018, Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex emerge from the West Door of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor, after their wedding ceremony. (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)
BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images

Anglican officials are questioning whether Prince Harry and Meghan Markle violated church law by getting married in a private ceremony days before their public vows.

The ex-royal couple claimed in a Sunday interview with Oprah Winfrey that they were actually married three days before their public wedding in a private ceremony attended only by themselves and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Experts say that the couple either lied about the private ceremony or insist it was illegitimate under Church of England law.

Reverend Canon Giles Fraser, the rector of St. Mary Newington church in London, asserted that Harry and Meghan’s private ceremony was not a wedding. At most, it was a church blessing.

“It wasn’t a wedding. It can’t have been,” Fraser told Insider. “It was probably a blessing. But they got married legally at Windsor.”

The reverend also tweeted out a photo of the couple’s marriage license that stated the couple was to be married in the St. George’s Chapel in Windsor, not in a garden ceremony like the couple claimed in the interview.

Marriage Foundation research director Harry Benson agreed with Fraser that the garden ceremony “could not have been a legal wedding.”

“While the archbishop might have been able to grant himself a special license in some circumstances, he may not have been able to overcome the legal need for weddings to be licensed to a building and to have two witnesses present, without which a wedding would not be ‘public,’” Benson told Insider. “However, as far as I’m aware, this could not have been a legal wedding.”

Reverend David Green, Vicar of St Mary’s, West Malling and the Rector of St Michael’s, Offham, questioned Harry and Markle’s claim in a series of since-deleted tweets reported by Fox News.

“I’ve no idea what they mean. Obviously lacking as a parish priest,” Green said while discussing the issue over social media with another reverend. “You can’t get married twice. So what was the thing three days before? And if it was a marriage, what on earth are we doing ‘playing’ at prayer/holy matrimony for cameras.”

In another tweet, Green said that the archbishop should clarify what happened between himself and the couple three days prior to their public marriage ceremony.

“She clearly thinks something happened with [Archbishop of Canterbury] 3 days prior,” Green said. “So it would be helpful to clarify what it was. Plus this is something she claimed that can be verified by separate testimony (i.e. Lambeth). If it’s BS, that helps assess the rest of the interview too.”

Fox News outlined the controversy over Harry and Meghan’s private ceremony, and how the Church of England is supposed to handle marriage under church law:

The official rule book for clergymen provided by the Church of England lays out the very specific circumstances with which the Church defines a legal marriage. The book states that “a couple who are already lawfully married cannot choose to re-marry each other, unless there is some doubt as to the validity of the earlier marriage.” 

Furthermore, Harry’s assertion that the private ceremony took place just among himself, his bride and the Archbishop poses another problem. Per the rule book, two or more witnesses must be present at the marriage for it to be considered legally binding. It’s unclear if the Archbishop counts as one but regardless, the duo would still be missing a witness.

The rules also stipulate that a private, exclusive garden ceremony creates a problem as the public is required to have unrestricted access to the building during any marriage ceremony to allow for valid objections against the marriage. 

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Prince Harry And Meghan Markle’s Private Garden ‘Wedding’ Violated Church Law, Experts Say