They've set the date and the wedding planning is underway - and now they've received official consent from the Queen herself.
Whilst they shared news of their upcoming nuptials with the world last December,, under the Succession to the Crown Act the couple also need official approval from the Queen before they can proceed with their wedding.
And this week she gave the pair her permission to marry in May via an official letter, in which she called Harry her ‘most dearly beloved grandson’.
The document also called Harry and Meghan by their real names – Henry and Rachel.
The letter reads: “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.”
The Royal Marriages Act 1772 stated that every member of the royal family member needed the monarch’s permission to marry. But the rule was updated in 2013 stating that only the first six in line to the throne need the Queen’s consent.
Prince Harry is currently fifth in line to the throne, but will be sixth when Prince William and Kate have their third baby.
Since the letter became public knowledge, some have alleged a rather marked difference in language between her consent for Harry and Meghan’s wedding compared to that of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in April 2011.
Some pointed out that the Queen previously referred to Kate as ‘our trusty and well-beloved Catherine Elizabeth Middleton’ – whereas she simply called Meghan by her full name.
However, the record was set straight by royal enthusiasts who pointed out that the Queen only referred to Kate as ‘trusty and well-beloved’ in the official Instrument of Consent—a formal notice of her approval, which wasn’t released until a week before their wedding.
The Instrument of Consent is different document, which is written in calligraphy, framed, sealed with the Great Seal of the Realm, and signed by the Queen in the right-hand corner.
Prince Harry will marry Meghan Markle on 19 May at St George’s Chapel and Windsor Castle.
Former American president Barack Obama, tennis star Serena Williams, the Spice Girls and Meghan’s Suits co-stars Sarah Rafferty and Patrick J Adams are reported to be on the star-studded guest list.
Words: Sarah Finley