A UK vicar has thrown cold water on Meghan Markle’s claim that she and Prince Harry secretly tied the knot in their backyard days before their lavish public exchange of vows — insisting he was assured “no wedding took place.”
The Duchess of Sussex told Oprah Winfrey during the couple’s bombshell TV interview that they actually got hitched three days before their highly-publicized ceremony in May 2018.
“No one knows that. But we called the archbishop [of Canterbury], and we just said, ‘Look, this thing, this spectacle, is for the world, but we want our union between us,’” she said during the sit-down.
“So, like, the vows that we have framed in our room are just the two of us in our backyard with the archbishop of Canterbury,” Markle added.
Her hubby said later in the interview that it had just been them and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby present at the private service, which is said to have taken place in the garden of Nottingham Cottage.
But Newcastle Vicar Rev Mark Edwards — who has been flooded with private wedding requests during the coronavirus lockdown — contacted the Archbishop’s office after the claims to “get some clarity” on church policy, according to local newspaper The Chronicle.
Edwards said he was told by a staffer at Lambeth Palace, the Archbishop’s official residence, that “Justin does not do private weddings,” The Sun reported.
“Meghan is an American, she does not understand,” Edwards told the outlet.
Edwards claimed the person he spoke to told him that “Justin had a private conversation with the couple in the garden about the wedding, but I can assure you, no wedding took place until the televised national event.”
The Church of England also requires two witnesses to any nuptials for them to be valid — and ceremonies must take place in “a certified place of worship” that allows the public “unrestricted access” so objections may be lodged.
“It puts us priests in a difficult position on what constitutes a Church of England wedding,” Edwards told ChronicleLive, saying that he has had many requests for private ceremonies during the coronavirus lockdown in the UK.
“Should there be witnesses and licensing and legality or is it now just an ad hoc arrangement with members of clergy? Can we now do private weddings without witnesses in our back gardens?
“I think we need a clarifying statement — we need to know what our policies and procedures are. It can’t appear to be one rule for one and another rule for another.”
A rep for Lambeth Palace told ChronicleLive they could not comment on the remarks.