Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s ‘backyard’ wedding didn’t happen, vicar claims

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's apparent private marriage did not happen, a vicar has claimed.

The Sussexes said they wed "in our backyard" days before their lavish public ceremony at Windsor Castle in 2018.

Meghan told Oprah Winfrey last week: "You know, three days before our wedding, we got married. No one knows that.

"The vows that we have framed in our room are just the two of us in our backyard with the Archbishop of Canterbury."

But Newcastle vicar Rev Mark Edwards said he contacted the Archbishop's office after the claims saw him flooded with private wedding requests during the Covid lockdown, ChronicleLive reports.

The vicar at St Matthew’s Church, in Dinnington, and St Cuthbert’s Church, in Brunswick, said he wanted to "get some clarity" on the church's policy.

He added he was told by a Lambeth Palace staff member that “Justin does not do private weddings".

Rev Edwards said the person he spoke to then told him: “Justin had a private conversation with the couple in the garden about the wedding, but I can assure you, no wedding took place until the televised national event.”

He claimed Meghan's claims had sparked confusion over the legality of "backyard" weddings among the church and the public.

The vicar added it was “in the public interest for the leader of the church to put the record straight”.

He said: “It puts us priests in a difficult position on what constitutes a Church of England wedding.

“Should there be witnesses and licensing and legality or is it now just an ad hoc arrangement with members of clergy? Can we now do private weddings without witnesses in our back gardens?

“Justin saying he refuses to comment is not helpful to the rest of us clergy and our own policies and practices.

“I have had people ask me during lockdown if they could have a private wedding, and I have had to explain that would not be a legal wedding and not according to canon law.

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“I think we need a clarifying statement – we need to know what our policies and procedures are. It can’t appear to be one rule for one and another rule for another.”

Anglican weddings require at least two witnesses and grant the public "unrestricted access" to the ceremony so objections can be lodged.

A couple cannot marry twice unless something was wrong with the first marriage – and Church of England weddings must take place in a "certified place of worship" in law.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex married in front of 600 guests at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle in May 2018.

Their big day included a carriage procession and blooming flower arch at an estimated cost of £32m.

A spokesman for the Archbishop of Canterbury said he would not be commenting on personal or pastoral matters.

Daily Star has approached the Sussexes for a response.

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