Archbishop denies presiding over secret wedding for Duke and Duchess of Sussex

The Archbishop of Canterbury has addressed the claim that he presided over a “secret wedding” for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex before their official ceremony.

Meghan, 39, claimed in their Oprah Winfrey interview that they had been married in their back garden three days before the wedding at Windsor Castle’s St George’s Chapel, on Saturday May 19 2018. “We called the Archbishop, and we just said, ‘Look, this thing, this spectacle is for the world, but we want our union between us’.”

That raised questions about the legality of their actual wedding, prompting their spokesman to clarify that the “marriage” was merely a private exchange of vows.

A published copy of their marriage certificate confirmed the legal ceremony took place on May 19. The Most Rev Justin Welby, who had thus far kept quiet, was asked by La Repubblica if he had married the couple in secret.

“If you talk to a priest, you expect them to keep that talk confidential,” he said. “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.”

Meanwhile, it was claimed on Tuesday that the Duchess is planning a home birth for her daughter, due in early summer. Meghan is thought to have hoped for a home birth at Frogmore Cottage, Windsor, for her son, Archie, but she eventually gave birth at the private Portland Hospital, central London.

“Meghan’s plan was to have a home birth with Archie, but you know what they say about the best-laid plans,” a source told the New York Post.

“In the end, her doctors advised her to go to hospital and all she was interested in was delivering Archie safely. But she has a beautiful home in California, it’s a beautiful setting to give birth to her baby girl.”

A spokesman declined to comment.

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