The wedding of Pippa Middleton and James Matthews has a seriously exclusive guest list, with Prince William, Prince Harry, and Duchess Kate all expected to attend. It's so exclusive, in fact, that Meghan Markle may be barred from the wedding ceremony. Despite the fact that she's Prince Harry's serious girlfriend, royal protocol may exclude her from the proceedings, reports Vanity Fair. Yet, oh-so coincidentally, things may take a turn in the opposite direction, with the church celebration becoming open to the public.
Based off of a recent legal release linked to the Church of England, "celebrity weddings," which Middleton and Matthews' marriage falls under, follow the same rules as "weddings of any other persons." What are those rules exactly? The guidelines are fuzzy but fascinating. According to the document, "a marriage is a public ceremony which at the least all parishioners (including those whose names are on the electoral roll) are entitled to attend." Does this mean that Englefield parish members have a legal right to witness the ceremony? It's "also possible that those who are not parishioners are similarly entitled," the document adds, "whether at common law...or by reason of the fact that anyone is entitled to raise genuine impediments to the formalisation of marriage." Does that mean that we have a legal right to witness their ceremony?!
According to The Telegraph, the first answer is "yes." Stephen Borton, a legal expert, told the media outlet: "The document is pretty clear. Parishioners and those on the electoral roll have the absolute right to attend services of public worship, and they can't be denied access." As for non-parishioners like us, attendance seems less likely. "That of course does not extend to those from outside, such as the press," Borton said.
The newly-released rulebook has other interesting tidbits as well, such as that "the final decisions in relation to music, furnishings, and flowers rests with the minister of the parish." Fingers crossed this doesn't get in the way of Middleton's immaculate planning! And even if you could get into the ceremony, it's "always the right of the minister of the parish to decide what photographs or videos (if any) are permitted during any service or within the church precincts." Basically, boastful Snapchats and Instagrams might be banned. And while the information is exciting, we caution against swarming the venue day-of. Even if you do have a legal right, it only exists when there's adequate "seating or standing room."
Though the specifics remain unclear, the news has everyone talking. How will this impact the ceremony and the security of the royal family? Englefield Estate, where the ceremony venue, St. Mark's church, sits, told The Telegraph that they're unable "to comment or provide any details" about the "private ceremony."