The former official who issued the licence for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding has described Meghan as “obviously confused and clearly misinformed” after she claimed the couple were “married” three days prior to their official royal wedding in May 2018.
Meghan dropped the bombshell revelation that she and Harry had a secret ceremony with the Archbishop of Canterbury in their backyard three days before the official ceremony at Windsor Castle during her explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey earlier this month.
The claim aroused doubt among viewers, who pointed out that in the UK a legally-binding marriage must be solemnized by a member of the clergy in either a church or in a place specified in a special license, such as a chapel, and in the presence of two witnesses (who do not include the bride and groom).
Now Stephen Borton, the former chief clerk at the Faculty Office, has challenged the claims made by Meghan, stating: “They did not marry three days earlier in front of the Archbishop of Canterbury”.
Speaking to The Sun, he said: “The Special Licence 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.
“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 added that Meghan “is obviously confused and clearly misinformed”.
Church of England guidelines support the claim that the “wedding” that took place three days before the royal ceremony is likely to have been purely symbolic, rather than a legal exchange of vows.
However, the Rev Tiffer Robinson, a Church of England vicar in Suffolk, wrote on Twitter that Meghan is “entitled to consider it her marriage if she wants to”.
They continued: “Americans are much less concerned with the specifics of marriage law than English clergy.
“Most of their wedding ceremonies aren’t legal weddings … saying ‘we really got married three days before in a secret ceremony’ is not actually the same as saying they were legally wed three days before everyone thought they were.”
When approached for comment by The Independent, a spokesperson for Lambeth Palace said: “The Archbishop does not comment on personal or pastoral matters so we aren’t commenting.”
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