Prince Harry and Meghan Markle confirm they didn't marry before official wedding: 'Privately exchanged personal vows'

The Duchess of Sussex previously told Oprah Winfrey the couple wed three days before their Windsor Castle ceremony

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have confirmed they did not legally tie the knot days before their Windsor Castle wedding that was watched by millions around the world.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex instead clarified that they exchanged "private vows" at their home before their 2018 nuptials, after Meghan previously told TV host Oprah Winfrey the couple married before their widely broadcast ceremony at St George's Chapel.

A representative for the couple told Today this week that the duke and duchess "privately exchanged personal vows a few days before their official / legal wedding on May 19".

In a bombshell interview with Winfrey that was released earlier in March, Meghan told the host that she and Prince Harry "got married" three days before their legal ceremony.

"No one knows that. But we called the archbishop, and we just said, 'Look, this spectacle is for the world, but we want our union between us'," Meghan said.

"The vows that we have framed in our room are just the two of us in our backyard with the Archbishop of Canterbury," she explained, as Harry started singing "just the three of us", a reference to Bill Withers's song, Just the Two of Us.

Her claims sparked confusion as, under English marriage laws, couples are required to marry inside a place of worship or a licensed non-religious venue. Two witnesses are also required to attend any marriage.

British tabloid The Sun later refuted Meghan's claims by obtaining the couple’s marriage licence from the General Register Office, which confirmed their legal wedding date was May 19, 2018.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex in their interview with Oprah Winfrey. AP 
The Duchess of Sussex claimed she and Prince Harry had wed three days before their Windsor Castle ceremony in an interview with Oprah Winfrey. AP Photo

“What I suspect they did was exchange some simple vows they had perhaps written themselves, and which is fashionable, and said that in front of the Archbishop – or, and more likely, it was a simple rehearsal," former chief clerk Stephen Borton told the publication.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has not commented on the event.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's Windsor wedding was watched by 18 million Britons, while 29 million people in the US tuned in.

A number of British and foreign royalty, international dignitaries and celebrity guests were in attendance, including Winfrey, Priyanka Chopra and Idris Elba.

Updated: March 23, 2021 01:37 PM

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