Plenty of bombshells were dropped during the Sussexes' tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey, but the sweetest was about the royal couple's secret wedding. Three days before tying the knot on May 19, 2018, in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had their own private ceremony to exchange vows, which fans only learned about on March 7 when the CBS interview aired. Fans were immediately curious to know whether Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's secret wedding was legal or not, and on March 8, a rep for the couple cleared things up in a statement to Us Weekly. According to the rep, the couple's legal wedding date is May 19, not May 16.
The statement was released soon after a Church of England vicar called the legality of Harry and Meghan's backyard wedding into question. In a since-deleted tweet posted on March 8, Reverend David Green wrote, "I've no idea what they mean. You can't get married twice. So what was the thing three days before? And if it was a marriage, what on earth are we doing 'playing' at prayer/holy matrimony for cameras." The May 16 ceremony may not have been legally binding, but Harry and Meghan's backyard nuptials definitely sounded romantic.
As Meghan explained to Oprah, she and Harry decided to have an intimate ceremony to exchange vows three days before their public wedding for an understandable reason. "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. The backyard ceremony included just the two of them and Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury (who also presided over their public wedding at St George's Chapel). Meghan added that the marriage certificate that hangs in her home has the date of the private ceremony.
However, according to the clergy guidebook on the Church of England's official website, at least two witnesses must be present for a union to be considered legal, which wasn't the case for Harry and Meghan. It's unclear whether or not they knew the ceremony wasn't legally binding, but either way, I'm glad the two got the opportunity to exchange their vows in private.