The Archbishop of Canterbury has confirmed Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s legal wedding date, weeks after the couple caused confusion with the revelation that they were married three days before their televised ceremony.
In an interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Archbishop Justin Welby confirmed it’s his signature on the Sussexes’ wedding certificate. He also confirms the couple’s legal wedding took place on Saturday, May 19, 2018, the day viewers around the world tuned in for the ceremony.
“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. The legal wedding was on the Saturday,” Welby told the outlet, confirmed by Fox News.
“I signed the wedding certificate, which is a legal document, and I would have committed a serious criminal offense 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 added.
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The archbishop’s revelation comes just weeks after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s two hour sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey went viral. During the interview, the former American actress, 39, revealed that she and Harry, 36, were married in a private ceremony in their garden three days before their televised ceremony on May 19, 2018. Meanwhile, Harry confirmed that the private ceremony included just himself, Markle and the Archbishop of Canterbury, who also officiated the May 19 ceremony.
The private ceremony claim stunned fans and even prompted legal questions from the Church of England. Reverend David Green, Vicar of St Mary’s, West Malling and the Rector of St Michael’s, Offham took to Twitter shortly after the revelation to question some of the legal ramifications behind the reveal.
“I’ve no idea what they mean. Obviously lacking as a parish priest,” Rev. David Green wrote in a since-deleted tweet while debating the issue with Reverend Tiffer Robinson, who is responsible for four rural parishes in Suffolk. “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.”
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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 posed 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.
A spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex did not immediately return Fox News’ request for comment.
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The couple’s interview with Winfrey caused a number of other viral reactions from viewers. In the interview, Harry also revealed that his relationships with his father Prince Charles, 72, and older brother Prince William, 38, have ruptured.
Markle described feeling so isolated and miserable inside the royal family that she had suicidal thoughts. The Duchess of Sussex also alleged that a member of the royal family had “concerns” about the color of her unborn child’s skin.
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The family member was not Queen Elizabeth II, 94, or Prince Philip, 99, according to Harry, sparking a flurry of speculation about who it could be.