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Church wedding of Prince Harry and divorcee Meghan: what local clerics say about the issue

By Alf McCreary

Senior Church figures in Northern Ireland have expressed their broad approval of the engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who will wed in St George's Chapel, Windsor, next May.

It is expected that the royal couple will be married by the Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Reverend Justin Welby, who also expressed his "absolute delight" at the announcement of the engagement.

His support is regarded as a sign of support for a church wedding for Meghan - a divorcee - and Harry, and there seem to be no objections or obstacles to a Christian ceremony.

When the engagement was announced, Presbyterian Moderator the Rt Rev Dr Noble McNeely tweeted: "Having congratulated Prince Harry's grandparents on their 70th wedding anniversary last week, I send my warmest congratulations to him and Meghan Markle on their engagement. May you know God's richest blessing."

Former Presbyterian Moderator the Very Rev Dr Norman Hamilton told the Belfast Telegraph: " I think that the whole nation is joining together in welcoming the good news, and I wish the young couple well.

"The wedding ceremony is a matter for the Church of England, and I welcome the archbishop's comment about the young couple. The remarriage of divorced people also takes place from time to time in the Presbyterian Church."

The Rev Roy Cooper, Methodist Press officer, said: "The Methodist Church in Ireland offers its best wishes to Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle.

"They both share a love and concern for those less fortunate than themselves, and this will help them in their future life together.

"We wish them well in planning for their future, and at a time when fewer young couples are choosing to be married in church, we are delighted that they have chosen to make their vows in the presence of God, who is able to deal with all of our past."

Canon Ian Ellis, the former editor of the Church of Ireland Gazette, said: "There are well-established procedures in the Church of England for the remarriage of divorced people, and if the Archbishop of Canterbury is happy with the arrangements being made for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, I am content also. I think it is much better for a young couple to choose to be married in a church, and I wish this particular young couple every happiness."

A spokesman for the Catholic Church said that this was a matter for the Church of England and therefore he felt unable to comment.

Divorced people in the Catholic tradition can remarry in a church only if they obtain an annulment of their previous marriage.

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