In Prince Harry’s Spare, he does an interesting job of detailing the many roadblocks set in his path when it came to proposing to Meghan and setting a wedding date. When he first considered proposing to Meghan, he told his father and Charles’s immediate reaction was to claim that there wasn’t enough money to support Meghan… or maybe any wife Harry might want. Next up, Harry told people on his staff, Edward Lane Fox and Jason Knauf. Their immediate reaction was to try to find some protocol or rule banning Harry from marrying a divorcee.
I told Elf and Jason that I wanted to propose. Congratulations, both men said. But then Elf said he’d need to do some fast digging, find out the protocols. There were strict rules governing such things. Rules? Really? He came back days later and said before doing anything I’d need to ask Granny’s permission.
I asked him if that was a real rule, or the kind we could work around. Oh, no, it’s very real.
It didn’t make sense. A grown man asking his grandmother for permission to marry? I couldn’t recall Willy asking before he proposed to Kate. Or my cousin Peter asking before he proposed to his wife, Autumn. But come to think of it I did remember Pa asking permission when he wanted to marry Camilla. The absurdity of a fifty-six-year-old man asking his mother’s permission had been lost on me at the time.
Elf said there was no point in examining the whys and hows, this was the inalterable rule. The first six in line to the throne had to ask permission. The Royal Marriages Act of 1772, or the Succession to the Crown Act of 2013—he was going on and on and I could barely believe my ears. The point was, love took a decided back seat to law. Indeed, law had trumped love on more than one occasion. A fairly recent relative had been…strongly dissuaded…from marrying the love of their life. Who? Your aunt Margaret. Really? Yes. She’d wanted to marry a divorcé and…well. Divorcé? Elf nodded.
…To say nothing about the furor over a certain king who’d wanted to marry an American divorcée, which Elf reminded me had ended with the King’s abdication and exile. Duke of Windsor? Ever heard of him?
[From Spare by Prince Harry]
So even at the beginning, they were talking about Princess Margaret and the Duke of Windsor. All because Harry wanted to propose to a divorced American. They were absolutely looking for some kind of “reason” to get Meghan out of there quickly. In later chapters, Harry describes getting QEII’s permission at a shooting party, then the proposal to Meghan (which was already covered in the Netflix series). Once everything has been announced, the palace then slow-walked their decisions about a wedding date and venue.
Strangely, the Palace had trouble focusing too. We wanted to get married quickly. Why give the papers and paps time to do their worst? But the Palace couldn’t seem to pick a date. Or a venue.
…On our return from that trip I rang Willy, sounded him out, asked his thoughts about where we might get married. I told him we were thinking of Westminster Abbey. No good. We did it there.
Right, right. St. Paul’s? Too grand. Plus Pa and Mummy did it there. Hm. Yes. Good point.
He suggested Tetbury. I snorted. Tetbury? The chapel near Highgrove? Seriously, Willy? How many does that place seat? Isn’t that what you said you wanted—a small, quiet wedding? In fact we wanted to elope. Barefoot in Botswana, with maybe a friend officiating, that was our dream. But we were expected to share this moment with other people. It wasn’t up to us.
[From Spare by Prince Harry]
According to Harry, the palace kept rejecting wedding date proposals and trying to block out full months because of one-day events like “Garter Day.” Finally, the palace settled on May 2018 and they agreed to allow Harry and Meghan to wed at St. George’s Chapel. But that only came after months of back-and-forth while Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Kensington Palace tried to throw up all of these roadblocks in Harry and Meghan’s path. Lord. So much for “we welcomed Meghan right away!”
Photos courtesy of Cover Images, Avalon Red.