The Royal Wedding: succession, religion and why the Queen is legally required to consent
Her Majesty The Queen has consented to the marriage of His Royal Highness Prince William of Wales and Catherine Elizabeth Middleton. The marriage is to be celebrated at Westminster Abbey, London, tomorrow (29 April), in a ceremony which will attract worldwide interest. This consent is a legal requirement set out in the Royal Marriages Act 1772. It appears that King George III considered that his brothers had made unsuitable marriages and that consent to marriages ought therefore to be required. He made a recommendation to that effect. The Parliament of the day considered the matter and, according to the Preamble, was "thoroughly convinced" of the "wisdom and expediency" of the King's recommendation. Despite this wording there was considerable opposition to the Act particularly on the part of William Pitt (Earl of Chatham) and Charles James Fox. The Preamble to the Act states that marriages in the Royal Family are "of the highest importance to the State" and that it is therefore desirable that the reigning Monarch gives consent. The 1772 Act s.1 therefore requires descendants of King George II to have this consent - (there are some exceptions). Section 2 enables a marriage to proceed even without consent but Parliament may then intervene and express "disapprobation."
Her Majesty The Queen has consented to the marriage of His Royal Highness Prince William of Wales and Catherine Elizabeth Middleton. The marriage is to be celebrated at Westminster Abbey tomorrow (29 April), in a ceremony which will attract worldwide interest.
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