But Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, also raised eyebrows with the suggestion that the couple were married in secret three days before the ceremonial extravaganza broadcast around the world.
On Tuesday the man who married them addressed the issue publicly for the first time, saying this wasn’t the case and that the big royal event on May 19, 2018, was in fact the real one.
“The legal wedding was on the Saturday,” the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who is the religious figurehead of the Church of England, told Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
“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.”
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In the bombshell-laden interview broadcast on CBS earlier this month, Meghan told Winfrey: “Three days before our wedding, we got married — no one knows that.”
“We called the archbishop and we just said look, this thing, this spectacle is for the world but we want our union between us,” she said.
She said it was “just the two of us in our backyard with the Archbishop of Canterbury.” Harry added it was “just the three of us.”
This led commentators to question whether such a ceremony would have been legal, given that under English law it would need to have witnesses and to take place in a registered venue.
Following Welby’s comments, NBC News contacted Harry and Meghan’s representatives by email but they declined to immediately comment on the record.
The detail about the wedding was just one moment in a lengthy interview that has prompted weeks of recriminations. Meghan painted the palace as deeply out of touch, uncaring on mental health, and unsympathetic to — and even complicit in — the racism they say drove them out of the country
Buckingham Palace released a response on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II expressing concern and sadness at Harry and Meghan’s account of their experience. The statement said that “while some recollections may vary,” these issues would be dealt with privately by the family.
Harry’s brother, Prince William, batted away the race allegations, telling reporters in London earlier this month: “We’re very much not a racist family.”
The Sussexes finalized their split from the royal family last month a year after “stepping back” from public duties and relocating to America as the fairytale wedding turned into a nightmare.