Another royal wedding will happen soon. This time, the youngest grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Harry has received a green light to marry his girlfriend, the star of the “Suits” TV series, Meghan Markle. The Queen was reported to finally have given her permission for Prince Harry to marry the American actress.
Prince Harry had already asked for the permission from his grandmother to marry Ms. Markle in May. Nevertheless, he already knew that the Queen would not easily give her permission. One main reason is that Markle is a divorcee, and the Church of England will not easily endorse the marriage of a royal family to a divorcee.
Ms. Markle married movie producer Trevor Engleson in 2011 after seven years of dating. Unfortunately, their marriage only lasted two years, and they divorced in 2013. Markle and Prince Harry started dating in 2016, but they faced some obstacles over their desire to marry.
According to the Royal Marriages Act 1772, the member of the British royal family is prohibited from marrying a divorcee. The Act forced King Edward VIII to abdicate his throne when he proposed to marry a divorcee, Wallis Simpson in 1936. Subsequently, King Edward VIII had to abdicate in favor of his brother, Prince Albert, who became King George VI, the great grandfather of Prince Harry.
The act was amended in 2013 in the Perth Agreement. The amendment limited the provision of the Act only to the first six people in line for the throne. Those six people were also allowed to marry a divorcee only with Queen’s consent. Prince Harry is the fifth in line after Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince George, and Princess Charlotte.
Despite her approval, the Queen will not attend the wedding ceremony of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. This situation is similar to that of Harry’s father, Prince Charles, who married Camilla Parker-Bowles in 2005. As the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II is the nominal head of the Church of England. Therefore, the Queen has certain restrictions on attending the wedding ceremony of a royal family member to a divorcee.
Following his grandmother’s permission, Prince Harry is reported to plan to propose to his girlfriend next December. If Markle says yes, she will be eligible to attend the traditional Christmas celebration of the royal family at the Sandringham.
Regarding their view of marriage, the Church of England originally prohibited divorce and the remarriage of divorcees. Over time, as liberal theology penetrated the churches, such traditions slowly faded and reached an end in 2002. During the General Meeting of Synod, the Church of England approved the remarriage of divorcees after 20 years of debate.
The changes in both Church of England and royal tradition have given Prince Harry a great advantage. He has planned to have their wedding ceremony at the Westminster Abbey. Before that, he will need to obtain a license from the Archbishop of Canterbury.
[Featured Image by Justin Tallis/AP Images]