Why Meghan Markle and Prince Harry might not be allowed to get married at Westminster Abbey

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  • Royal insiders have predicted that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement may be imminent, but there’s a reason the two might not be able to tie the knot at Westminster Abbey.

    Ever since it was confirmed Harry and Meghan were an item, rumours started circulating about the two potentially getting engaged.

    The pair went on a romantic holiday to Africa this summer, with royal experts suggesting that Harry could have used this opportunity to pop the big question to Meghan.

    Kate and William tied the knot at Westminster Abbey

    Although nothing has been confirmed yet, it’s been revealed the couple might not be able to marry in the same venue as Harry’s brother Prince William, and his bride, Kate Middleton.

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge got married at Westminster Abbey, in 2011, like the Queen and Prince Philip did in 1947, but Harry may not be able to carry on with family tradition.

    According to The Sun, this is because Meghan is a divorcee, having been married to film producer Trevor Engelson between 2011 and 2013. While under civil law they are allowed to get married, the rules of the Church of England state that the final say on whether they can have a religious ceremony or not lies with the clergy, who have to assess the exceptional circumstances.

    Meghan has previously been married

    The General Synod Ruling of 2002, which Westminster Abbey follows, states: ‘The Church of England teaches that marriage is for life. It also recognizes that some marriages sadly do fail and, if this should happen, it seeks to be available for all involved. The Church accepts that, in exceptional circumstances, a divorced person may marry again in church during the lifetime of a former spouse.’

    The BBC explains that the Church decided against Harry’s father Prince Charles and his now-wife Camilla getting married religiously because adultery was seen as having contributed to the failure of Camilla’s first marriage, but the couple were blessed in church after a civil ceremony.

    Prince Harry at his brother’s wedding in 2011

    However, since Meghan’s first marriage breakdown happened long before her relationship with Prince Harry started, there’s a chance the two might still have their big day at the Abbey.

    Speaking to the Daily Express, a spokesman for Westminster Abbey confirmed their wedding could still happen at the iconic venue.

    ‘The Abbey follows the General Synod Ruling of 2002,’ they said. ‘Since then it has been possible for divorced people to be married in the Church of England.’