While the royal family gathered at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on 19 May 2018 to watch Prince Harry and Meghan exchange vows, the Duchess later hinted that they had actually already been married for several days at that point, which was later denied.
In his book Spare, which was released in January 2023, Harry has set the record straight about their "magical" ceremony at their former home Nottingham Cottage on the grounds of Kensington Palace – the same location where Harry proposed.
Recalling his legal wedding ceremony, Harry revealed he stood at the altar and reminisced about the special moment he had shared with Meghan and the Archbishop of Canterbury days earlier for their "unofficial" celebration witnessed only by their pet dogs.
"The archbishop reached the official part, spoke the few words that made us The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, titles bestowed by Granny, and he joined us until death parted us, though he’d already done similar days earlier, in our garden, a small ceremony, just the two of us, Guy and Pula the only witnesses. Unofficial, non-binding, except in our souls," he wrote.
The confusion over Harry and Meghan's wedding date came during their tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey. "You know, three days before our wedding, we got married," said Meghan. "No one knows that. The vows that we have framed in our room are just the two of us in our backyard with the Archbishop of Canterbury," she added, referring to the home that they share with their children Archie and Lilibet in Montecito, California.
Meghan said that while the main event was a "spectacle" for everyone to behold, the couple wanted their "union" to remain between the two of them.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, later confirmed that the legal ceremony was the one witnessed by thousands across the world on 19 May. "The legal wedding was on the Saturday. I signed the wedding certificate, which is a legal document, and I would have committed a serious criminal offence if I had signed it knowing it was false," Welby said according to CNN. "So, you can make what you like of that. But the legal wedding was on the Saturday, but I won’t say what happened at any earlier meetings."
After exchanging vows, Meghan, in her Givenchy wedding dress, and Harry, in his black military uniform, celebrated at a wedding reception at Windsor Castle. Photos shared as part of the couple's Netflix documentary Harry & Meghan show the Duke moved to tears as he raised a glass with his new wife, the newlyweds cutting their lemon and elderflower wedding cake with a sword, and Doria Ragland enjoying a performance by Elton John.
Meghan later changed into a Stella McCartney backless halterneck gown and Harry wore a black suit to party on the dancefloor and watch fireworks at their private evening reception at Frogmore House.
Planning your wedding? Sign up to HELLO!’s Bride Guide newsletter for expert advice, budget help, wedding inspiration and real life stories delivered straight to your inbox.