With a little more than two months to go before the wedding, Queen Elizabeth II officially gave her consent for her grandson, Prince Harry, to marry Meghan Markle on Wednesday, as is required by the Succession to the Crown Act of 2013, which states the first six people in line to the throne must obtain the consent of the Queen before marrying. But the wording of the announcement had some eagle-eyed royal watchers wondering just how happy Her Majesty is about the upcoming wedding.
Some observers were quick to pounce on the slight difference in wording between the Queen’s decree in approving Harry and Meghan’s union versus her approval of Prince William’s marriage to Kate Middleton in 2011. During Wednesday’s Privy Council meeting at Buckingham Palace, The Queen gave her official declaration to the pair’s marriage, using both Meghan and Harry’s full names in her decree. The statement read: “My Lords, I declare my Consent to a Contract of Matrimony between My Most Dearly Beloved Grandson Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales and Rachel Meghan Markle, which consent I am causing to be signified under the Great Seal and to be entered in the Books of the Privy Council.”
When the Queen gave her consent for William and Kate’s nuptials, she referred to the couple as “Our Most Dearly Beloved Grandson Prince William Arthur Philip Louis of Wales, K.G. and Our Trusty and Well-beloved Catherine Elizabeth Middleton.”
There was speculation that American-born Meghan being referred to only by her given name, “Rachel Meghan Markle,” was an indication of some displeasure on the Queen’s part about the marriage.
According to a palace insider, the Queen did not slight Meghan in omitting the gushing adjectives. “Those are words used for British citizens only,” said a source with ties to the Palace. “‘Our Trusty’ and ‘Well-Loved’ are commonly used in statements such as these when the person marrying a royal is from Britain.”
In truth, the Queen has been more accommodating of Meghan than she ever was with Princess Diana, Kate, or Camilla Parker-Bowles. Last year, Meghan was the first non-spouse ever to be invited to spend Christmas at Sandringham. The Queen did so at Harry’s request. “She wants to see Prince Harry happy,” said the source. “At this stage, she is thrilled that he has found someone who he loves and who loves him.” The couple are living together at Nottingham Cottage on the grounds of Kensington Palace. “The Queen has been very forward thinking about Harry and Meghan’s relationship.”
Her Majesty has also agreed to pay for the wedding which is expected to run in the millions and has orchestrated extensive training for Meghan in preparation of her joining the family.
All of this is in stark contrast to the way other royal brides-to-be were introduced into “The Firm.”
When Prince Charles was marrying Diana, the Palace still was very much intent on holding on to every protocol and tradition. They certainly didn’t make it easy for Diana to fit in.” The princess herself told friends when she first joined the royal family, she felt lost and said she was “thrown into the deep end” and “It was sink or swim.”
In the case of Kate Middleton, said the source, “There was no need to bend the rules, Catherine was with William for many years before they became engaged. She had the love and support of her own family and was comfortable with the royal family.”
The Queen was adamantly opposed to Charles marrying Camilla, a divorcee, for many years, and didn’t agree to meet her son’s longtime love until 2000, three years after Princess Diana’s death. When the couple finally wed in 2005, they were not permitted to do so in a church and were married in a civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall followed by a blessing at St. George’s Chapel where they had to acknowledge “their manifold sins and wickedness.”
Despite her status as a divorcee, Meghan is marrying Harry in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor on May 19th.
A lot has changed since the Queen would not allow her sister, Princess Margaret, to a marry a divorcee without renouncing her claim to the crown in 1955. With all but one of the Queen’s children having been divorced (except for Prince Edward, who is still married to Sophie Rhys-Jones, whom he wed in 1999), Meghan’s status as a divorcee is not an impediment to marriage. Nor is her being an American.
But, says the insider, that is likely because Harry is not considered a future king. Prince Harry is fifth—soon to be sixth (when William and Catherine’s third child is born)—in line to the throne “so he has more freedom.” The insider concluded, “The Queen likes Meghan very much and thinks she’ll do a good job as a royal, but it’s highly doubtful that would be the case if Harry was the future king. It’s [British-born] Catherine who will be the future queen and Her Majesty is quite happy about that.”
And for more Buckingham intrigue, learn the 30 Fascinating Facts About Royal Weddings.
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