Did you know that British Royal family needs the Queen’s permission to get married to their future spouse? No, I’m afraid falling in love and dreaming of a happily-ever-after with their significant other is not enough. According to British law, the reigning monarch has a duty to approve and give formal written consent to the marriage. Queen Elizabeth could have stopped Prince Harry from marrying actress Meghan Markle if she had deemed the match to be unfitting.
The reigning monarch is in fact the Head of the Church, and their power of the King or Queen is greater than your average head of family’s. While the average person still follows the tradition of asking permission from a woman’s parents for her hand in marriage, it is not a legal — or religious — requirement for a wedding to take place. Either a civil or religious ceremony would be valid even without the parents’ approval.
Member of the Royal family do not have the same freedom to marry as they choose. What does this mean?
Well, when it comes to being the head of state and the Church, there could be a conflict between private and public duties if the monarch’s husband or wife was Catholic, for example.
The Queen is the head of the Anglican Church. Why does this matter? Well, it matters a lot when considering Royal succession. What would a member of the Royal family do if they got involved with an unsuitable person? They have to abdicate. In other words, they formally pass on succession to the person who is next in line to the throne. Can you spell Wallis Simpson? King Edward came to power when his brother abdicated to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.
The duty to consent is there to protect the throne and Royal bloodline.
The Suits star, a divorcee, passed the test with flying colors. Walking down the aisle on May 19th will be a happy day for the future Mr. and Mrs. — well, Prince and commoner. The Queen’s formal consent reads as follows: “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."
So, that’s officially a yes. Phew. In fact, the Queen is quite used to marriage — and divorce — in her family. Diana and Charles were urged to divorce, which was quite shocking at the time. The scandal and affairs were a blight on the Royal family, and the Queen had a duty to protect the crown too. A divorced partner is acceptable today, but religious differences can’t always be accepted.
If there were more issues surrounding Meghan and the Queen had objected, the wedding would have been off. Prince Harry could have still married her, but he would have given up any rights — including those of future heirs — to the throne.