Queen Elizabeth II is thrilled to see your grandson, Prince Harry, marry the love of his life, Meghan Markle. While Prince Harry’s bride-to-be is somewhat of an unconventional suitor (Meghan is American and a divorcee), Her Majesty is nevertheless excited for the marriage.
Although, had this engagement happened in before 2002, there would be no wedding at all.
In 1953, Queen Elizabeth was forced to make a very difficult decision- one that she claims was harder than most. Her sister, Princess Margaret, was in love with a forbidden man: Peter Townsend.
Peter was, like Meghan, a divorcee.
While the Queen wanted her younger sister to be happy and with the one she loved, she had no other choice than to reject their request to marry. The reason why, which has come up time and time again since the unfortunate conclusion, was in response to the Church of England’s stance of divorce.
As head of the Church of England, Her Majesty has always had to abide by the rules and regulations of the Church. In 1955 a heartbroken Princess Margaret shared that she had to call off her engagement because the Church’s rules strictly stated: “that Christian marriage is indissoluble.” The regretful princess went on to marry a much better suitor (in the Church’s eyes): Anthony Armstrong-Jones.
There was a massive revision to the Church in response to the General Synod of 2002; the traditional stance regarding the remarriage of a divorcee. The Guardian shared on the matter by saying, “This [change] is a recognition that not only does marriages break down...We have been struggling to walk this tightrope of wanting to say both that marriage is a fundamentally important gift of God, to be respected and advocated, and we believe that God is quite prepared to forgive and make possible fresh starts."
Before the change, the same stance on divorce was taken for more than 468 years!! The Church’s rule change has allowed The Queen to bless two significant marriages with divorcees: Prince Charles of Wales to Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005 and now Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
For a rule that had been in place for 468 years, it’s truly a miracle that Prince Harry and Meghan are even able to marry at all! The Queen, who reportedly struggled with the rule change, nearly had to say to not only her son, but also her grandson! Thankfully for them, times have changed!
In the midst of the excitement for Prince Harry and Meghan, we can’t help but wonder if Queen Elizabeth feels any remorse for her sister’s fate… At least she can celebrate in the love between Harry and Meghan.