“That would have been a criminal offense”

Have Britain's Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle married twice? The two speak in an interview of a "secret wedding" before the official ceremony. The highest Anglican bishop contradicts now.

Meghan and Harry, who left the British royal family last year amid major headlines, spoke about an alleged "secret wedding" in a major television interview with U.S. host Oprah Winfrey in early March. Three days before, the ceremony had taken place at Windsor Castle. In the interview, Duchess Meghan spoke of a private ceremony attended only by the couple and the archbishop. Welby now contradicts this account.

Such a "clandestine marriage" never happened, said the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, in an interview printed this week in the "World" and the Italian newspaper "La Repubblica," among others. At least, he said, he was not involved in such a ceremony.

"I signed the certificate"

Welby: "I had several private and pastoral conversations with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex before the wedding. The legally binding wedding took place on a Saturday (19. May 2018) instead. There I signed the wedding certificate. This is a legally binding document. If I had known about any other wedding, it would have been a serious offense."

However, the archbishop does not deny that there was a meeting between the fiancee and Welby, but it was not a wedding ceremony. He would not comment on the content of the conversation, saying, "If you ever talk to a priest, you can expect that conversation to remain private".

In the Anglican Church there are different interpretations as to whether marriage is to be considered a sacrament. Especially the "High Church", which resembles the Catholic Church in its appearance, represents this reception. For all Britons, however, marriage is a legally binding contract that must be entered into under witnesses.

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