Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Didn’t Actually Get Married in a Backyard Ceremony

There has always been an air of mystery surrounding the royals. They keep their fans at an arms length and don’t let the public in on too much regarding the inner workings of the monarchy. So, when Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex  gave an open and vulnerable interview to Oprah Winfrey, people hung on every word. Among other revelations, Meghan revealed that she and Harry were married in a private backyard ceremony just three days before their big wedding. However, now, it has come out that that wedding was actually not legal.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on tour in South Africa
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle | Samir Hussein/WireImage

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s backyard wedding

Royal weddings in the United Kingdom are like holidays. People around the world tune in to see the centuries old traditions, elaborate decorations, and expensive gowns. Royal weddings are much less about the union between the two people getting married and much more about the spectacle of it all. So, Meghan and Harry wanted to have a small ceremony before their May 19, 2018 extravagant wedding.

“Three days before our wedding, we got married — no one knows that — but we called the Archbishop and said, ‘This thing, this spectacle is for the world, but we want our union between us,’ ” Meghan told Oprah.

She told the former talk show host that she and Harry called the Archbishop, Justin Welby and asked him to marry them at their Nottingham Cottage estate.

“The vows that we have framed in our room are just the two of us in our backyard with the Archbishop of Canterbury,” Meghan said.

When Meghan did finally have have her big wedding at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, she was oddly calm.

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“I’ve thought about this a lot because it was like having an out-of-body experience I was very present for,” she told Oprah. “That’s the only way I can describe it because the night before I slept through the night entirely, which in and of itself is a bit of a miracle.

“And then woke up and started listening to that song ‘Going to the Chapel.’ And I just tried to make it fun and light and remind ourselves that this was our day — but I think we were both really aware, even in advance of that just, this wasn’t our day,” she continued. “This was the day that was planned for the world.”

The union was not legally binding

Weeks after the interview aired, Stephen Borton, who took part in drafting the license to allow Meghan and Harry to marry, said that the secret wedding couldn’t have been legally binding.

“The Special License I helped draw up enabled them to marry at St George’s Chapel in Windsor and what happened there on 19 May 2018 and was seen by millions around the world was the official wedding as recognised by the Church of England and the law,” he told The Sun.

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“What I suspect they did was exchange some simple vows they had perhaps written themselves, and which is fashionable, and said that in front of the Archbishop — or, and more likely, it was a simple rehearsal,” he continued. “You cannot be married with just three people. It’s not a valid ceremony.”

A spokesperson for the couple has since come out and told The Daily Beast that “the couple exchanged personal vows a few days before their official/legal wedding on May 19.”