As the British monarch, the Queen is also the head of the Church of England. The Church of England teaches that marriage is for life, and divorce is not encouraged. Clergy are urged to think carefully before remarrying a couple.
As Meghan Markle is a divorcee, the Queen may not feel she can attend or witness Markle’s second marriage — even if it is to her grandson.
This wouldn’t be the first time that the Queen has skipped the wedding ceremonies of family members due to one or both of the wedding party being a divorcee. The Queen’s son and first in line to the throne, Prince Charles, wed Camilla Parker-Bowles in 2005. Both had been previously married and the Queen skipped the ceremony, only attending the reception afterwards.
“I am not able to go,” the Queen told a friend at the time, according to The Telegraph.
“I do not feel that my position [as Supreme Governor of the Church] permits it,” she reportedly said.
The friend told the Telegraph that the Queen “feels she has to put her role with the Church before her role as a mother,” or in the case of Harry and Markle, her role as a grandmother, despite already giving the union her blessing.
“The Queen takes her position as Supreme Governor of the Church of England incredibly seriously,” the friend said. “She also has great personal faith.” Markle’s status as a divorcee could also affect the couple’s choice of venue.
Historically, the Church of England wouldn’t let divorced individuals marry again in one of its churches. However, this law was revoked in 2002. As a result, venues such as Westminster Abbey — where the Queen and Prince William both married their respective spouses — and St Paul’s Cathedral — where Prince Charles married Princess Diana in 1981 — are now both available to Prince Harry and Markle.
Whether the happy couple will choose such a grand venue is up for debate, as Harry has reportedly stated that he’d rather have a smaller affair.