The Instrument of Consent by Queen Elizabeth II for the upcoming marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
The Instrument of Consent by Queen Elizabeth II for the upcoming marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Kensington Palace

Queen Elizabeth’s consent to the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle has arrived in an elaborate document. The Instrument of Consent, which refers to her grandson’s fiancée by her full name and without the adoration that accompanied Kate Middleton’s name before she married Prince William in 2011. There’s a reason for that, though.

“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, KCVO, and Rachel Meghan Markle,” the document reads.

The formal document, written in calligraphy and sealed by the Great Seal of the Realm, has been widely anticipated as to how it would be worded. When the Queen gave her consent for Harry to marry Meghan in March, she also referred to the American actress and philanthropist by her name and without referring to her as “trusty and well-beloved.”

It can be remembered in the Instrument of Consent for William and Kate’s marriage, Her Majesty described the now-Duchess of Cambridge “our trusty and well-beloved.” The Queen did not refer to Kate as such in the consent she gave to the Privy Council a month before their wedding. She only called Kate in such loving words in the official Instrument of Consent released a week before their April 29, 2011, wedding.

That is why the Instrument of Consent for Harry and Meghan was highly anticipated; people wanted to know how the Queen would refer to Meghan this time. There have already been constant reports of comparisons between Meghan and Kate, and how the Queen calls her granddaughters-in-law individually adds to speculations that one is somehow favoured more than the other.

But there’s a good reason for how the monarch worded each document, and royal correspondent Emily Nash knows why.

“For anyone wondering why Meghan is not described as ‘most trusty and well-beloved’ like Kate was, it’s because the term is only used for citizens of Britain or the Queen’s overseas Realms. Meghan is not yet a British citizen,” she tweeted.

Meghan, being an American, is not a citizen of Britain or any Commonwealth nations, at least not yet.

The Instrument of Consent for Harry and Meghan is drafted by the Crown Office and is handwritten and illuminated on vellum by one of a panel of scrivener artists from the Crown Office. As the palace notes, vellum is only used for important State documents, and this one counts as important.

The design to the left of the text is a red dragon, which is the heraldic symbol of Wales, with the UK’s floral emblems — the rose, thistle and shamrock. Harry’s Label is also featured, along with three tiny red escallops from the Spencer family Arms.

Meghan’s home country is also featured in the document. To the right of the text is a rose, the national flower of the United States. And either side of the rose are tow golden poppies, the state flower of California where Meghan was born. Between the flowers is the Welsh leek with Harry’s Label. And beneath the prince’s Label are olive branches, which are adopted from the Great Seal of the United States.