It's official — Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are getting married with the Queen's royal consent! Though Harry, 33, and Meghan, 36, became engaged in November 2017 and are now set the tie the knot in a royal wedding on Saturday, May 19, the couple had to receive formal permission to marry under the Succession to the Crown Act from Queen Elizabeth before getting hitched.
And, on Sunday, May 13, the monarch signed the Instrument of Consent document, which is a hand-written letter that recorded her permission for Harry and Meghan to get married. "The Queen has signed the Instrument of Consent, the hand-written document which records Her Majesty's consent to the Marriage of Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle," Kensington Palace revealed in a statement alongside a photograph of the colorful letter.
The royal family's official website later explained all the details of the document, including the special symbols included in the letter. "The Instrument of Consent is drafted by the Crown Office and is, in the case of Prince Harry's marriage, hand-written and illuminated on vellum by one of a panel of scrivener artists retained by the Crown Office. Vellum is used only for important State documents," the site explained.
"The design to the left of the text incorporates a red dragon, the heraldic symbol of Wales, together with the UK's floral emblems — the rose, thistle, and shamrock. It also features Prince Harry’s Label, including three tiny red escallops from the Spencer family Arms," the message continued. "The design to the right of the text also includes the rose, as this is also the national flower of the United States. To either side of the rose are two golden poppies — this being the state flower of California, where Ms. Markle was born. Between the flowers is the Welsh leek, together with Prince Harry’s Label. Beneath the Label are olive branches, adopted from the Great Seal of the United States."
"To the left, underneath the two main designs, is the coronet for Prince Harry. On the lower right side of the document is the Commonwealth symbol," the statement read. "The Instrument of Consent is sealed with the Great Seal of the Realm, which is attached to the foot of the document by woven cords sealed within the Great Seal itself. The Queen's signature, 'Elizabeth R,' can be seen at the top right of the document, which will be presented to Prince Harry and Ms. Markle after the wedding."
Earlier this year on Thursday, March 15, Queen Elizabeth also granted her grandson Harry permission to marry Meghan in a letter released by Buckingham Palace. "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," Queen Elizabeth wrote in the notice, according to People.
Though it has always been assumed that the Queen supported Harry's decision to marry Meghan, that initial letter was the first time Elizabeth publicly stated that she approved of their union. In the past, Harry and Meghan's relationship may not have been accepted by the monarch because Meghan is a divorcée. The Suits star was previously hitched to Hollywood producer Trevor Engelson for two years from 2011 until 2013.
In fact, Queen Elizabeth did once prevent her late younger sister, Princess Margaret, from exchanging vows with her true love, Peter Townsend, because the air force officer was divorced. Margaret went on to marry photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones in May 1960, but it has been reported that Margaret never completely forgave her sister (or the crown) for disallowing her to marry Peter.
Margaret's marriage to Antony did not work out and the pair later divorced in 1978. It has since been said that Margaret paved the way for acceptance of divorce within the British royal family. In fact, three of the Queen and Prince Philip's four children — Prince Charles, Princess Anne, and Prince Andrew — have gone through subsequent royal divorces in the public eye. We're so glad Queen Elizabeth approves of Harry and Meghan's union and can't wait for their wedding!
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