It’s a formal moment in a ceremonial event but amidst the ancient language and symbolic illustrations on the Instrument of Consent for the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are some very personal links between them and the Queen. For this document, revealed with just under a week to go until the Royal Wedding, underlines the importance of the Commonwealth to both the Monarch and the couple whose marriage gets the ultimate go ahead with this headline-making piece of vellum.
Amidst the illustrations decorating it is the Commonwealth flag. There it is, fluttering away in the bottom right-hand corner just above the Great Seal of the Realm which reminds us that the Queen is ”Head of the Commonwealth of Nations”. Prince Harry has just been made a Youth Ambassador for the organisation by his grandmother and speaking of the new role, he said that ”Meghan will be joining me in this work, in which she, too, is hugely excited to take part in”.
The illustrations on an Instrument of Consent are always linked to the people involved in it and when the same document was produced in April 2011 for the marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Commonwealth flag wasn’t incorporated. The inclusion on Meghan and Harry’s document really underlines the major role the organisation will have for them in their married life.
The other artwork on the Instrument of Consent is – as you would expect – laden with symbolism, too. On one side is the Welsh dragon supporting the UK’s floral emblems – the rose, the thistle and the shamrock. At its base is Prince Harry’s label which has another very personal touch – three red escallops taken from the Spencer family arms.
On the other side, the illustration that celebrates the bride is dominated by striking golden poppies, the state flower of California where Meghan was born. It’s been the emblem since 1903 and it’s included in this historic document around another red rose, which has been the national flower of the United States since 1986. Prince Harry’s label and a Welsh leek are also incorporated into this artwork which is supported by olive branches, taken from the Great Seal of the USA.
But it is the role of the Commonwealth that really strikes a note in this Instrument of Consent. This rare document, signed by the Queen, underlines just how important the organisation is to her, her grandson and her soon to be granddaughter in law. Three people, one goal and a very special message on this document filled with history still to come.
Photo credits: Victoria Jones/ PA Wire