Another day, another story from a press hellbent on tearing Meghan Markle down. The Oprah interview in which Markle and Prince Harry described their difficult time in royal life had many remarkable moments but one thing the Duchess said at the time is receiving new scrutiny.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, who officiated the official wedding, was asked by an Italian newspaper, La Republica, about the “secret ceremony” that Markle described to Oprah as happening three days prior to the televised wedding the world got to see. His answer is causing waves.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Story About a Private Ceremony Before the Official Wedding Is Receiving New Scrutiny.
In an interview with La Republica, the Archbishop, whose name is Justin Welby, was asked about the Markle and Harry wedding ceremony. Specifically, he was pressed to say if he had indeed married the couple prior to the official ceremony. It’s important to look at his full answer to the question as many outlets are cherry-picking parts of it and not reporting the full quote he gave:
“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,” he explained to the outlet. “I had a number of private and pastoral meetings with the duke and duchess before the wedding.”
“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. So you can make what you like about it. But the legal wedding was on the Saturday. But I won’t say what happened at any other meetings,” he concluded his remarks on the topic.
The Archbishop is considered the figurehead of the Church of England and he gave the paper a very dignified response. He did say that he met privately and offered “pastoral meetings.” But, would he admit that he watched the Prince and Markle exchange vows privately at the expense of his reputation?
“Three days before our wedding, we got married — no one knows that,” Markle told Oprah in the bombshell interview.
“We called the archbishop and we just said, look, this thing, this spectacle, is for the world, but we want our union between us,” she said.
She explained that the intimate affair included “just the two of us in our backyard with the archbishop of Canterbury.” Harry added that it was “just the three of us.”
If what Markle and Harry told Oprah is true, such a ceremony would have been potentially illegal, given that under English law it would need to have witnesses present and to take place in a registered venue.
Markle and her husband’s remarks to Oprah caused weeks of news stories to sprout from the fount of allegations they disclosed, ranging from claims of racism and a palace that is deeply out of touch with the modern world.
At the time the Queen issued a statement that said in part, “while some recollections may vary,” the issues “will be addressed by the family privately.”
The Queen’s role as royal monarch includes overseeing the Church of England and acting as its head. She is above the archbishop as both Queen and head of the church.
This is purely speculative, but it would not be out of the realm of possibility for the Queen to ask the Archbishop of Canterbury to not mention a private ceremony. Alternatively, the private ceremony could have been a symbolic one and thus, unofficial. Either way, it would reflect poorly on the Queen, the Church of England, and the Archbishop if what Markle claimed turned out to be true. Why would the Archbishop admit to it publicly?
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The media is having a field day with the comments from the Archbishop. Outlets like E! even hosted a taped speculation session in which attractive talking heads sit in a semi-circle and breathlessly muse about what actually happened. One of the commentators goes so far as to read Prince Harry’s facial expressions for clues that would indicate his dishonesty on the topic.
Let’s take a breath. We must look at the full quote from the Archbishop and think critically about the context of the situation. Meghan never said the private ceremony she had was official, she only said that the vows they exchanged that day were framed as a keepsake. It very well could have been a symbolic ceremony for the couple.
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
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