If Prince Harry and Meghan Markle actually do want to delight millions of fans by announcing their engagement any time soon, Harry will have to first comply with British law. Royal marriages aren’t straightforward or easy to arrange, and according to the Mirror, one of the first problems Prince Harry and Meghan face will be a tricky one.
Not too many other people have to ask anyone’s permission to get married, let alone the permission of someone hugely influential and world-famous. For the British royals, they face the daunting task of gaining approval and formal consent from none other than Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, whose full title is an intimidating, “Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.”
The Royal Marriages Act, dating from 1772, still applies to Prince Harry’s marriage. King George III had a lot more direct power than the monarch of today enjoys, and he created the Act because he wasn’t happy with his brothers’ marriages. Although the reigning monarch has a different role now, the Marriages Act is valid today. It “states that reigning monarchs must grant approval to direct descendents.”
Markle hasn’t even met the monarch yet, and Queen Elizabeth isn’t known for sharing her opinions out of turn. It’s possible that the inner circle of Buckingham Palace know what to expect as Markle and Prince Harry grow ever more serious about their relationship. But if palace insiders know what the Queen thinks of a potential marriage between her grandson and the Suits actress, they haven’t let on to the rest of the world.
According to Her, the sovereign likes to take her time making up her mind about potential new members of the royal family. Harry’s grandmother “apparently likes to trust anyone who is likely to join the family through marriage.” At this point, Queen Elizabeth and Meghan Markle haven’t even been introduced.
If Meghan markle and prince Harry get engaged today, I'm flying to England tomorrow
— benny (@lbluvsgb) February 14, 2017
Usually, British princes and princesses marry someone who is already familiar with the upper class English way of life. In the past, royalty almost always married other royalty or nobility. More recently, the accepted way of doing things has become less rigid.
Prince William, who is second in line to the throne after his father, Prince Charles, is married to a commoner with no noble connections at all. Kate Middleton is the most popular member of the royal family, and as Duchess of Cambridge, fulfills her duties admirably, but it took four years of dating for the Queen to allow an introduction to Prince William’s girlfriend. There’s more divorce amongst the senior royals: Prince Charles himself is divorced and remarried to a divorcee, Camilla Parker Bowles, Duchess of Cornwall. It might not be a big deal if Meghan Markle joins the family.
OMG i really hope Prince Harry and Meghan get married. ????????????????
— BhavnaGuru (@BhAvNaGuRu) February 4, 2017
There are those who believe that the crisis created in the last century when King Edward VIII abdicated in order to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson was a much-needed reminder to the royals that the world was changing. That’s good news for Meghan Markle!
— Pen is the best (@Peaceloveton) February 14, 2017
Fans of the show, The Crown, saw just how much has changed in the 80 years since the last time a Prince and a divorced American wanted to marry, or the last time Queen Elizabeth refused permission for marriage. The Daily Mail recalls that only a few years after the abdication, Princess Margaret was famously prevented from marrying the love of her life, the “dashingly handsome pilot Group Captain Peter Townsend.” Townsend was considered an impossible choice of husband for Margaret because he was divorced.
While it’s not likely that the aging monarch would refuse permission for Prince Harry to get engaged to Meghan Markle, fans can’t help feeling nervous about it as they wait for him to pop the question!
What do you think? Will Meghan Markle soon be wearing a diamond engagement ring from Prince Harry?
[Featured Image by Arthur Edwards – WPA Pool /Getty Images]