Was Prince Harry Following in This Royal’s Footsteps When He Married an American Celebrity?
When Meghan Markle and Prince Harry got together, people were shocked. Weren’t royals supposed to marry other high born people? Weren’t British royals supposed to marry other British citizens? It was pretty inconceivable that a member of the royal family would even consider dating an American, and a divorced celebrity at that!
But that’s exactly what happened, much to the dismay of several traditionalists. And it’s actually not the first time that a marriage exactly like this has gone down in the royal family.
Markle and Prince Harry’s relationship
It’s not that easy to meet a prince who lives in a different country and is in line for the British throne. But Markle had a stroke of luck when a friend set her up on a blind date with the royal in 2016.
“I didn’t know much about him, so the only thing that I had asked [our mutual friend] when she said that she wanted to set us up, was, ‘Well is he nice?’ Cause if he wasn’t kind, it just didn’t seem like it would make sense,” Markle said of her initial thoughts of going out with Prince Harry.
They met in July of 2016 and dated for almost two years before marrying in May of 2018. They had what some would call a whirlwind romance, but it definitely wasn’t easy.
According to The Royal Marriages Act of 1772, royals who want to marry have to get permission from the Queen. In 2013, the law was amended to only require the six people closest in line for the throne to ask the Queen about their marriages. As Prince Harry falls within that range, he had to get his dear old grandma to approve of Markle.
And with Markle being a divorced, American celebrity, many people thought that the Queen might have had her reservations, but this kind of marriage wasn’t exactly unprecedented.
King Edward and Wallis Simpson
Queen Elizabeth II was never supposed to be Queen. In fact, the line of succession was supposed to go through her uncle King Edward’s direct family, but he abdicated the throne for love.
When King Edward fell in love with American celebrity and socialite Wallis Simpson, she was still married. Though she intended to divorce her husband Ernest Simpson, marrying King Edward would still not be easy.
At the time, Edward was not only a king but also the head of the Church of England. The Church did not allow divorced people to remarry as long as their spouses were still alive. This rule changed in 2002 but that did nothing for Edward and Simpson’s saga.
When Simpson wanted to marry Edward, both of her previous husbands were still living.
If Edward really wanted to be with Wallis, he would have to abdicate the throne.
At the time, Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin said that Edward told him of his intentions to abdicate the throne weeks before his formal announcement.
“I am going to marry Mrs. Simpson, and I am prepared to go,” he told Baldwin, according to The Guardian’s account of the abdication.
When he resigned, his brother George VI became king, which led to Queen Elizabeth II’s reign.
King Edward became the Duke of Windsor and Simpson became the Duchess of Windsor.
Prince Harry’s marriage to Markle wasn’t quite as dramatic as Harry wasn’t king when he decided to marry her, nor is he particularly close in line for the position.