As a grandmother, she likely gave her blessing to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle last autumn. As sovereign, however, the Queen must officially sign off on the union before the couple's May 19 wedding.
According to the Royal Marriages Act 1772, the first six people in line to the throne must seek permission to wed from the monarch. It was proposed to Parliament by George III after some of his family members married commoners without letting him know.
Though the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's third child will bump Harry down from fifth to sixth-in-line, he's still expected to go through the process. Nowadays it's little more than a formality, but tradition and elaborate scrolls are a few of the things that make Great Britain great, so here we are.
On Mar. 14, the Queen made an official declaration, per the Privy Council's official document:
Just days before Prince William's 2011 wedding to Catherine Middleton, the Queen's permission was shown via the Instrument of Consent, an elaborate document put on public display in the House of Lords.
Of course, there are exceptions to the Royal Marriages act.
The most famous example of Parliament's marriage rejection involves Princess Margaret. Although she waited until she was 25 to go head and marry Group Captain Peter Townsend, Parliament and the Church of England opposed the union since Townsend was divorced. If Margaret intended to marry Townsend, she would have to give up her place in line to the throne, as well as those of her future children.
At that time, Margaret was third in line to the throne behind her nephew, Prince Charles, and niece, Princess Anne. These days, however, the Church of England has relaxed its stance on divorcees remarrying; in fact, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who will marry the couple at St. George's Chapel, confirmed that Meghan's divorce from first husband Trevor Engelson is "not a problem," adding that "the Church of England has rules about how you deal with that [divorce] and we've dealt with that."
Harry and Meghan's wedding ceremony will take place at noon local time on May 19. Expect an announcement that morning from Buckingham Palace regarding a title for the couple, to be gifted by the Queen.