A British vicar has rubbished Meghan Markle’s claims that she and Prince Harry were married in a private garden ceremony three days before their official Windsor Castle nuptials.
The Duchess of Sussex’s claims that she and the Queen’s grandson had a “garden wedding” with just Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby present were among the bombshell revelations from last week’s two-hour tell-all interview with US TV host Oprah Winfrey.
“We called the Archbishop and we just said, ‘Look, this thing is the spectacle for the world. But we want our union between us’,” Meghan said.
Harry added that it was only he, Meghan and the Archbishop in their Kensington Palace garden for the ceremony.
But Newcastle vicar Reverend Mark Edwards said he had been told there was no wedding.
Reverend Edwards – who said he had been inundated with requests for private weddings during the pandemic – said he had been told by one of the Archbishop’s staff that he “does not do private weddings”.
“Meghan is an American. She does not understand,” the staffer said.
Reverend Edwards said the person he spoke to then added: “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.”
Church of England vicars have already cast doubt on the duchess’s claims.
Church rules require at least two witnesses for weddings, and the public must have “unrestricted access” to the ceremony so objections can be lodged.
Reverend Edwards’ claims follow reports by the BBC that Meghan had incorrectly described the ceremony as a wedding, and it was instead nothing more than a “private exchange” of vows.
During the Winfrey interview, Meghan said she and Harry had a framed photo of the ceremony in the bedroom of their Montecito mansion.
The Sussexes also claimed in their explosive TV interview that an unnamed member of the royal family had been concerned how dark their unborn son Archie’s skin would be, and that she had been denied mental health support as she struggled with suicidal thoughts and self-harm during her pregnancy.
Prince Harry revealed fractures in his relationship with his father Charles and brother William, illuminating the depth of the family divisions that led the Sussexes to step away from royal duties and move to California in 2020.
So far, the royals’ only official response has been a brief statement from the Queen, which came two days after the show aired.
“The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan,” Buckingham Palace said last Wednesday morning (Australian time).
“The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. Whilst some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.
“Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much-loved family members.”
Tellingly, the statement also noted that “some recollections may vary”.
Harry’s brother Prince William also spoke briefly to journalists on an official visit to a London school on Friday.
“We’re very much not a racist family,” he said.