In her Oprah interview, Meghan Markle sparked some confusion by saying:
Three days before our wedding, we got married. No one knows that. We called the Archbishop and we just said, look, this thing, this spectacle is for the world. But we want our union between us, so the vows that we have framed in our room are just the two of us in our backyard with the Archbishop of Canterbury.
A statement made by Harry and Meghan’s representatives to the Daily Beast last week confirmed that Meghan was not referring to a legal ceremony. On Monday 22nd March, they told the publication that ‘the couple exchanged personal vows a few days before their official/legal wedding on May 19.’
Archbishop of Canterbury comments on Harry and Meghan’s wedding
The Archbishop of Canterbury confirmed to Italian newspaper La Repubblica that Harry and Meghan’s televised wedding was the official ceremony. He said:
The legal wedding was on the Saturday. I signed the wedding certificate, which is a legal document, and I would have committed a serious criminal offence if I signed it knowing it was false.
However, he did not deny that Harry and Meghan exchanged personal vows prior to the legal ceremony, saying:
If any of you ever talk to a priest, you expect them to keep that talk confidential. It doesn’t matter who I’m talking to. I had a number of private and pastoral meetings with the duke and duchess before the wedding.
Weddings in the UK
In the UK, legal marriages can only take place in Register Offices, registered religious buildings or premises approved by local authorities. They can take place in the home only under special circumstances such as if one partner is housebound. However, many couples choose to get ‘married’ in an unofficial ceremony that gives them more freedom over the venue and ceremony either before or after having a legal wedding.