Are Meghan Markle & Prince Harry Catholic? The Royal Wedding Will Take Place In A Church, Afterall
It's all royal wedding all the time now, right? Until May 19, very early in the morning, when I get to sit in front of the TV before my kids even get up and ooh and ahh over all of the fancy outfits and British regal tradition, I'm going to be pondering each and every aspect of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's upcoming nuptials. And that includes even the religious intricacies, like whether or not Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are Catholic. Are they? Because a girl's gotta know her royal wedding info.
The short answer? No. Neither Meghan or Harry are Catholic, although Meghan attended a Catholic high school in Los Angeles, according to People Magazine. Harry, of course, is a member of the Church of England, as is every single other member of the royal family in England. While Meghan was raised Protestant, it is rumored that she was recently baptized and confirmed into the Church of England's Anglican faith, according to the Daily Mail.
If Markle hadn't been baptized Church of England, she wouldn't have been able take communion along with Prince Harry (and presumably many of the rest of the attendants) during the wedding mass. And the Church of England faith isn't just a choice for Prince Harry, it's a part of the royal family dating back hundreds of years. The royal family website, Royal.uk, explained that Her Majesty The Queen holds the title of 'Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England.' Would that even fit on a business card?
The Queen wasn't the first one to hold that title, not by a long shot. King Henry VIII was originally given the title of 'Defender of the Faith' in 1521 by the Pope. "When Henry VIII renounced the spiritual authority of the Papacy in 1534 he was proclaimed 'supreme head on earth' of the Church of England. This was repealed by Queen Mary I but reinstated during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, who was proclaimed 'Supreme Governor' of the Church of England," according to the royal family website. The short version? Essentially, the English monarchy was Catholic, then it was Church of England, then it was Catholic, and now it has remained Church of England for about 500 years.
However, as the Queen is the queen of all of the people in England, not all of whom are members of the Church of England at this point, the site is quick to point out that "As Head of the Nation and Head of the Commonwealth, Her Majesty also recognises and celebrates other faiths in the UK and throughout the Commonwealth." And in fact, Prince Charles has already made clear that he would prefer to be known only as "Defender of Faith" when he becomes King, according to The Telegraph. "He has now opted for Defender of Faith which he hopes will unite the different strands of society, and their beliefs, at his Coronation."
Until just a few years ago, whether Meghan was Catholic (having attended a Catholic high school and all) would have been a more important question because until the passage of the Succession to the Crown Act in 2013, royals were prohibited from marrying Catholics. Old religious feuds die hard, eh? And while members of the royal family can now marry Catholics, monarchs themselves still can't be Catholic, which means that if Harry and Meghan have children, they must be baptized, raised and confirmed in the Church of England in order to be eligible for the monarchy.
Of course, the likelihood of Harry and Meghan's children ever making it onto the throne are pretty low, especially now that gender doesn't influence succession. According to the rules of succession outlined on the BBC website, Harry's nephews and neice, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, all come before Harry and his children in the line to the throne.