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Queen gives formal consent to Harry and Meghan’s wedding

The declaration was made by the monarch at a Privy Council meeting.

The Queen has given her formal consent to the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

At a Privy Council meeting on Wednesday, the monarch issued her approval, in a declaration, to the nuptials of her “most dearly beloved grandson Prince Henry”.

Queen Elizabeth II greets her grandson Prince Harry at the annual Chelsea Flower Show (Julian Simmonds/The Daily Telegraph/PA)

Henry is Harry’s actual first name. Ms Markle was referred to as “Rachel Meghan Markle”.

The actress used her second name Meghan, rather than her first Rachel.

“I declare My Consent to a Contract of Matrimony between My Most Dearly Beloved Grandson Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales and Rachel Meghan Markle, which Consent I am causing to be signified under the Great Seal and to be entered in the Books of the Privy Council,” the Queen’s declaration read.

Harry, who is preparing to wed the American star at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, on May 19, had to ask the Queen’s consent to marry.

Meghan Markle attending her first official engagement with the Queen and senior royals at Westminster Abbey (Paul Grover/Daily Telegraph/PA)

Although the monarch is unlikely to have withheld her blessing, she would only have said “no” on the advice of the Prime Minister.

The Queen will have signed an Instrument of Consent – an elaborate notice of approval, transcribed in calligraphy, and issued under the Great Seal of the Realm – just like she did for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The ‘Instrument of Consent’ for Prince William’s marriage to Kate Middleton (PA)

Harry first took Ms Markle to meet the Queen for afternoon tea at Buckingham Palace last October, to introduce her to the woman he wanted to marry.

For hundreds of years, the Royal Marriages Act 1772 required descendants of George II to seek the sovereign’s consent before they wed, otherwise their marriages were deemed invalid.

But this law was repealed through the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, which came into effect in 2015 when all the Commonwealth countries in which the Queen is head of state passed any necessary legislation.

Yet the new Act still required fifth-in-line Harry to obtain the Queen’s permission.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at their engagement photocall (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

It restricted the consent to just the first six people in the line of succession: now the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Harry and the Duke of York.

If Harry failed to get the Queen’s approval, he and his future descendants would have been disqualified from succeeding to the Crown.

The Act was a radical shake-up of the rules of royal succession, removing male bias.

King George III, George II’s grandson, ordered the now repealed 1772 act after his younger brother the Duke of Cumberland secretly married Lady Anne Horton, deemed to be a highly disreputable widow of a commoner.

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