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The Queen Shares Official Instrument Of Consent Ahead Of Harry And Meghan's Wedding

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When you’re an heir to the British throne, a proposal isn’t just a matter of getting down on one knee. Royals who sit in the first six places in the line of succession must seek permission from the Queen before their marriage. So, having recently moved down from fifth into sixth place (following the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s third child, Prince Louis) Prince Harry is still bound by this royal rule. Now, ahead of his wedding to Meghan Markle next weekend, Buckingham Palace has shared an image of the official Instrument of Consent, the document denoting the Queen’s approval.

Should you cast your minds back to March this year, you might remember that the Queen has already issued a similar message of approval for the couple, doing so at a meeting of the Privy Council, through a Palace memo. This traditional Instrument of Consent is an official record of the Queen’s consent, hand-written and illuminated upon vellum.

The text of the Instrument reads: ‘NOW KNOW YE that We have consented and do by these Presents signify Our Consent to the contracting of Matrimony between Our Most Dearly Beloved Grandson Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales, K.C.V.O., and Rachel Meghan Markle.’

According to the Palace, the document incorporates a red dragon, the traditional symbol of Wales, alongside the rose, thistle and shamrock, the UK’s three floral emblems. Below this, you can spot Prince Harry’s official Label, which features ‘three tiny escallops’ as a nod to the Spencer family arms.

Another rose appears on the other side of the text, flanked on each side by two golden poppies, the flower of Meghan’s home state, California. In between is a Welsh leek, and underneath the Label are two olive branches, a tribute to the Great Seal of the United States of America.

When the first notice was issued back in March, a small difference between that and the declaration of consent for Prince William’s marriage to Kate Middleton was noted: while Meghan is referred to by her full name (Rachel Meghan Markle), Kate was styled as ‘our trusty and well-beloved Catherine Middleton.’ Had a touch of Queenly shade been detected?

The short answer is no, not at all. The phrase ‘trusty and well-beloved’ is in fact one which is traditionally used in official documents to describe UK and Commonwealth citizens. As Meghan is not (yet) a British subject, she misses out on the adjectives.

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