Why Prince Harry had to ask Queen for permission to marry but cousin Eugenie didn’t

Royal weddings: Expert hits out at 'scandalous' cost for taxpayer

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Royal tradition dictates that members of the Royal Family should ask the Queen’s permission before officially announcing an engagement. But some are even bound by law – Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, for example, while Princess Eugenie and husband Jack Brooksbank were exempt. Read on to learn how it all works.

To prevent “scandalous marriages”, the Royal Marriages Act was passed in 1772 by King George III, declaring his descendants could not marry without the monarch’s consent.

The law came as a result of the King’s brother, Prince Henry, marrying a “commoner” Anne Horton.

The marriage was considered scandalous at the time, so to prevent future matches that could “diminish the status of the royal house”, the act was passed.

To this day, the act still dictates who within the Royal Family has to ask the Queen for permission before they marry.

Although the law has been flouted in the past by certain royals, such as Edward VIII’s scandalous marriage to Wallis Simpson, it’s a formality that’s still followed by most royals today.

Under the original Royal Marriages Act, Princess Eugenie would have likely had to ask the Queen for permission to marry.

But the Succession to the Crown Act in 2013 made new changes to this law.

This states that only the first six in line to the throne need to ask the Queen’s permission before they marry.

As Princess Eugenie is only 12th in line to the throne she is exempt from this law.

But her cousin, Prince Harry, is currently sixth in the succession order.

This means that before he proposed to Meghan Markle he would have had to ask his Grandmother’s permission to marry.

The couple got engaged in November 2017 – Prince Harry popped the question at his home, Nottingham Cottage, on the grounds of Kensington Palace.

The proposal was a low-key affair, with Harry asking Meghan to marry him while they were cooking a roast chicken.

Their wedding on the other hand was a much more glamorous event.

The pair made their vows to each other in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in 2018.

The ceremony was televised to the delight of royal fans and the Chapel was packed with plenty of Hollywood A-Listers.

Princess Eugenie’s wedding might have taken place at the same venue but it was a much less extravagant affair than her cousin’s.

Jack Brooksbank romantically proposed to Eugenie in front of a volcano at sunset while the pair were on holiday in Nicaragua, they were married in 2018.

Although it’s not obligatory for some royals to ask the Queen for permission to marry it’s considered good manners for all royal heirs to let the monarch know of their intention to marry before publicly announcing it themselves.

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