LONDON — Every wedding has its share of official documents. But it’s probably fair to say that the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on May 19 has more than most.
Queen Elizabeth II had to give her formal consent to the union, and the official document — impressively ornate, written on vellum and decorated with symbols representing the lives of the couple — was released late Friday.
The 92-year-old monarch originally gave her blessing at a meeting of the privy council in March. Her consent was needed to comply with the 2013 Succession to the Crown Act.
Let’s break it down, shall we?
The handwritten Instrument of Consent carries the queen’s signature, “Elizabeth R,” with the R standing for regina, or queen.
The document is sealed with the Great Seal of the Realm, which is attached to the foot of the document by woven cords. It 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.”
The markings on the left of the text incorporate the red dragon of Wales along with the United Kingdom’s floral emblems.
The design also includes three tiny red “escallops” from the arms of the Spencer family of Harry’s mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.
Representing Ms. Markle, the markings to the right of the text include the rose, the national flower of the United States; and four golden poppies, the state flower of California, where she was born.
The document was drafted by the Crown Office and created on vellum, a fine parchment that is made from calf skin and that is only used for important state documents. It was made by one of a panel of scrivener artists.
The Instrument of Consent began after the Royal Marriages Act of 1772. It required descendants of George II, specifically the first six people in line to the throne, to get the sovereign’s consent before they wed, otherwise their marriages would be invalid.
The document of consent will be presented to the couple after they have said their vows.
Prince Harry is the sixth in line to the thrown after his father, Prince Charles; his brother, Prince William; and William’s children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.
Harry and Ms. Markle, an American actress best known for her role in the TV drama “Suits,” are to marry on Saturday at Windsor Castle.
Kensington Palace also announced on Friday that the couple had asked a bishop from Chicago, Michael Bruce Curry, who is head of the Episcopal Church, to give the address at their wedding.
He is the first African-American to serve as presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, an offshoot of the Church of England in the United States and part of the worldwide Anglican Communion. He was elected and confirmed on June 27, 2015.
Kensington Palace said he would join the dean of Windsor, David Conner, who will conduct the service; and the archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby, who will officiate.