Prince Harry and Meghan Markle: the protocol they would need to follow for a royal engagement

The couple, who have been dating since the summer, are attending Pippa Middleton's wedding this weekend

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are set to attend Pippa Middleton's wedding this weekend. And the couple's much-awaited appearance is only adding fuel to reports that Harry, 32, and Meghan, 35, are preparing for a royal wedding of their own. Historically, royals have not been allowed to marry divorcées, but fans of the couple can breathe a sigh of relief. Meghan's previous marriage to US film and TV producer Trevor Engelson will not stand in the couple's way.

According to the Express, Harry and Meghan would be granted a church wedding. They would be allowed to marry at Westminster Abbey, following in the footsteps of Prince William and Kate, and the Queen and Prince Philip. A spokesperson for the historic church said: "The Abbey follows the General Synod Ruling of 2002. Since then it has been possible for divorced people to be married in the Church of England." They added that Meghan's Jewish background would not prevent her from having an "interfaith" marriage there.

Prince Harry would be allowed to marry at Westminster Abbey

It is understood that Harry would require a special wedding licence from the Archbishop of Canterbury. He would also have to ask permission from his beloved grandmother, the Queen. According to the Perth Agreement of 2011, the first six people in the line of succession need approval from the monarch. Harry is currently fifth-in-line to the throne.

Harry and Meghan pictured kissing at the polo

However, Harry may not choose to follow in his brother William's footsteps. Because he is unlikely to become King, Harry has less obligation to hold a huge do at Westminster Abbey or invite press to a big briefing, as William and Kate did when they announced their engagement in 2010. An announcement will be made via Kensington Palace, but more than that is unclear.

Prince Harry would need approval from the Queen

Harry and Meghan, who have been notoriously private about their relationship, may also opt for a low-key affair, just as Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall did when they married in 2005. Royal weddings tend to be held at Westminster Abbey or St Paul's Cathedral but Charles and Camilla, a divorcée, chose to marry at Windsor Guildhall. The Queen and Prince Philip did not attend, perhaps because of the monarch's position as Supreme Governor of the Church of England. They compromised by attending the service of blessing at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle and also threw a reception for the newlyweds at the castle.

Harry, a romantic at heart, may go down the sentimental route and choose to marry in St Paul's where his late mother Diana, Princess of Wales said "I do". The Prince was incredibly close to his mother, and marrying his number one love Meghan at the same church would be a fitting tribute.

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