Archbishop of Canterbury says Harry and Meghan didn’t marry in secret

Archbishop Justin Welby confirmed the legal wedding took place at Windsor Castle (Picture: PA/Getty)

The Archbishop of Canterbury has for the first time addressed the claims that Meghan and Harry married in secret three days before their royal wedding.

During the couple’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan Markle said the couple were married by Archbishop Justin Welby in a private backyard ceremony with no guests.

The duchess said ‘nobody knew’ that the couple had exchanged personal vows ‘just the two of us’ three days before their wedding at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle on Saturday May 19, 2018.

Speculation has since swirled around the legality of the private ceremony with the archbishop remaining silent on the matter.

Mr Welby, the most senior Church of England cleric, has now confirmed that the ‘legal wedding was on the Saturday’ but acknowledged that he did meet the couple before the ceremony.

‘But I won’t say what happened at any other meetings,’ he added, during an interview with Italian newspaper la Repubblica.

The Archbishop said: ‘If any of you ever talk to a priest, you expect them to keep that talk confidential.

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (R) and US actress Meghan Markle (L) stand facing each other hand-in-hand before Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby (C) during their wedding ceremony in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor, on May 19, 2018.

Mr Welby said he would not discuss what happened ‘at any other meetings’ other than the legal wedding (Picture: AFP)

‘It doesn’t matter who I’m talking to. I had a number of private and pastoral meetings with the duke and duchess before the wedding.

‘I signed the wedding certificate, which is a legal document, and I would have committed a serious criminal offence if I signed it knowing it was false.’

During the interview Meghan had told Oprah: ‘You know, three days before our wedding, we got married. No one knows that.

‘But we called the Archbishop and we just said, “Look, this thing, this spectacle is for the world but we want our union between us”.

‘So, the vows that we have framed in our room are just the two of us in our backyard with the Archbishop of Canterbury.’

The duchess had told Oprah that ‘no one knows’ they secretly wedded three days before (Picture: CBS)

Harry then jokingly started singing: ‘Just the three of us, just the three of us.’  

Following the claims, questions were raised over whether the private ceremony could be classed as a legal wedding partly because UK law requires two witnesses.

The former official who issued the duke and duchess’s wedding licence said Meghan was ‘clearly misinformed’, saying the private ceremony was ‘not valid’ because the couple’s home – Nottingham Cottage – was not an authorised venue.

Harry and Meghan’s spokesperson confirmed at the time: ‘The couple exchanged personal vows a few days before their official/legal wedding on May 19.’

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