THE Archbishop of Canterbury has tonight confirmed Meghan Markle and Prince Harry weren’t legally married in their back garden three days before their official ceremony.
Meghan told Oprah Winfrey during their bombshell chat that she and Harry tied the knot “in our backyard” before the lavish public wedding at Windsor Castle on May 19 2018.
👑 Read our Meghan and Harry live blog for the latest news...
Meghan and Harry claimed during their interview with Oprah that they were legally married in a secret ceremony three days before their Windsor weddingCredit: pixel8000
But the Archbishop of Canterbury has confirmed that did not happen – and the wedding seen by millions around the world was the real ceremonyCredit: AFP and licensors
She said just she, Harry and Justin Welby were there.
Officials immediately poured cold water on the claim, with Stephen Borton, who drew up the licence for the wedding, telling The Sun Meghan was “obviously confused”.
And now the Archbishop has told La Repubblica that the wedding seen by millions across the world was the real deal.
It comes as:
He said: “If any of you ever talk to a priest, you expect them to keep that talk confidential.
“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.
“The legal wedding was on the Saturday.
“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.
“So you can make what you like about, but the legal wedding was on the Saturday.
Justin Welby has told a Spanish newspaper he won’t comment further on the earlier ceremonyCredit: PA
Meghan told Oprah: ‘You know, three days before our wedding, we got married. No one knows that’Credit: pixel8000
But officials quickly poured cold water on the claimCredit: AP
“I won’t say what happened at any other meetings.”
Mr Borton, former chief clerk at the Faculty Office, previously said: “I’m sorry, but Meghan is obviously confused and clearly misinformed.
“They did not marry three days earlier in front of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
“The Special Licence I helped draw up enabled them to marry at St George’s Chapel in Windsor. What happened there on May 19 2018 and was seen by millions around the world was the official wedding as recognised by the Church of England and the law.
“What I suspect they did was exchange some simple vows they had perhaps written themselves, and which is fashionable, and said that in front of the Archbishop — or, and more likely, it was a simple rehearsal.”
Meghan, 39, had stunned the world by telling US talk show queen 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’.
But the couple’s wedding certificate confirms the formalities DID take place on May 19, 2018 at Windsor Castle
The couple told Oprah about their secret vows as they fed the chickensCredit: CBS
“The vows that we have framed in our room are just the two of us in our backyard with the Archbishop of Canterbury.”
She said she and Harry phoned the Archbishop, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, and asked him to marry them in private at Nottingham Cottage — their home in the grounds of Kensington Palace.
Harry, 36, chimed in: “Just the three of us.”
Under the law, a marriage cannot happen with just three people involved.
A copy of the official wedding certificate confirms the actual ceremony did take place on May 19 at Windsor.
The witnesses are recorded as Prince Charles and Meghan’s mum Doria Ragland.
It states the Sussexes were married according to the “rites and ceremonies of the Established Church” by Special Licence by “Justin Cantuar” .
This is an abbreviation of the Latin Cantuariensis, meaning Canterbury, and is the formal way the Archbishop signs himself on official documents.
Harry and Meghan married in front of 600 guests in a wedding estimated to have cost £32million, including security.
If what the couple told Oprah was right, it follows that the Archbishop, leader of the Church of England, had not only broken the law, but then presided over a “fake” royal wedding in the presence of the Queen, who is the titular head of the Church of England.
Meghan and Harry faced a long journey out of The Firm after announcing they no longer wanted to serve as senior royals