• 16 Dec - 22 Dec, 2017
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Spotlight

The values for British monarchy has apparently changed, whilst it was considered unfathomable for royals to marry divorcees back in past decades, 33-year-old Prince the Harry, fifth in line to the British throne has recently announced betrothal to divorcee girlfriend, US actress Meghan Markle, 36, but not without his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II’s blessings. The lovebirds would tick off serious firsts for the royal family when they tie the knot this coming spring.

Plunging back to old times, 1936 to be precise, a British royal indulging in matrimony with an American divorcee would have set the British monarchy and the Church of England berserk. The last time a British royalty expressed his desire to marry such an individual, he had to abdicate his throne. The alluded royalty here is Edward VIII, the then king, who chose to renounce his position against his love for the divorced Baltimore socialite, Wallis Simpson. In his abdication speech, King Edward stated, “You must believe me when I tell you that I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as king as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love.”

The bone of contention lied in the rule on divorce and remarriage in the Church of England, which happens to be headed by the monarchs of the United Kingdom. The Church forbade remarriage of any divorcee whose former spouse was alive and breathing. The rule applied to Edward’s case too, since Wallis had not one, but two living ex-husbands and was thus, unacceptable as the United Kingdom’s prospective queen.

Queen Elizabeth’s younger, glamorous sister, Princess Margaret, was also subjected to similar restrictions in 1955, when she was forced to call off her marriage with a handsome royal air force officer, Group Captain Peter Townsend, merely because the Church of England did not approve of the union. Margaret had no choice but to suppress her feelings for the officer if she wanted to stay a part of the royal family.

Fast forward to 2005, when Prince Charles was a lonely man after the death of his wife, Princess Diana, and wanted to marry the divorced Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla Parker Bowles, the woman he wanted to marry in the first place in the early 1970s. The only glitch? Camilla’s former husband was still alive. The situation paved way for a compromise and the two got married in a civil ceremony, receiving blessings in St. George’s Chapel at Winsdor Castle, later.

If truth be told, the Church of England had already started making amendments to its rigid rules and regulations by then. Around the same time, the Church agreed to marriages of divorcees under certain circumstances. For instance, the couple could not marry in church if their relationship had caused the divorce of one, or both, of them, or if the latest wedding could possibly ignite a public scandal.

Bearing in mind these episodes from the past, the British monarchy’s transcendence, from conservatism to the point where the announcement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markel’s marriage is being so warmly embraced, is certainly a glad tiding. The fact that the Queen, who holds staunch religious beliefs and takes her position of the Supreme Governor at the Church of England quite seriously, refused to attend Prince Charles and Camila’s civil ceremony, is now so excited for her grandson, speaks volumes about how times have changed for the British monarchs.

That is not it; even the Church of England seems to be rejoicing at the couple’s good news! Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, was only full of prayers for the two. “I wish them several years of love, happiness and fulfillment and ask that God blesses them throughout their married life together,” he stated. Well, things might not have been so smooth had Meghan been a Catholic, but that is not the case! The Church is thrilled by the fact that Prince Harry and Meghan have decided on an Anglican wedding and that they would be taking their vows before God and the people cannot help but celebrate. The power of love clearly reigns supreme, as even the monarchs had to give in against their traditional mindsets so as to allow this marriage to take place. The cherry on top? The palace released a statement shutting down all sexist and racist debates that stirred post the couple’s marriage announcement.

As for the most anticipated wedding, set to take place in the spring of 2018, preparations are in full swing and the very-much-in-love spouses-to-be are over the moon! The actress spares no moment for flaunting her dazzling three-stone ring. Co-designed by Harry himself, the ring contains a lump of rare, Welsh gold that has constituted every royal’s wedding ring so far, including Her Majesty, the Queen’s and Princess Diana’s. While Meghan is presently receiving congratulations from her well-wishers, there still lies the issue of her acquiring British citizenship, to which Kensington Palace remarked that Ms Markle would have to endure the same process as everyone else.

The wedded couple will live in Nottingham Cottage in the Kensington Palace of London, where Prince Harry’s elder brother, Prince William, is already residing with pregnant wife, Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton and their two children. •