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Sunday, May 22, 2011

William and Kate's marriage certificate will be kept secret

By David Jarvis

Private: The Duke and Duchess of Cambrige's marriage certificate will not be made available to view at a register office

William and Kate’s marriage certificate will not be made publicly available, officials have indicated.

A little-known clause in the Marriage Act gives Royals the right to exempt themselves from normal legal requirements whereby all marriage certificates are available to view at a register office.

Officials at Westminster Abbey said they were in discussion with Clarence House on the issue but were not planning to make the marriage certificate available.

The General Register Office, which holds details of all marriages, also said yesterday it would not be supplying public copies of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s certificate.

‘Certificates are never available after Royal Weddings,’ it said. ‘For the same reason, it would not be possible to obtain a copy of the marriage certificate relating to the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.’

Available: Oddly the only certificate which the public can view is that of Prince Charles' second marriage to the Duchess of Cornwall

No public records exist for the Queen’s ¬marriage to Prince Philip in 1947, Princess Anne’s to Mark

Phillips in 1973 or her second marriage to Timothy Laurence in 1992.

One exception to the rule is the certificate for Prince Charles’s second marriage, which is publicly available. It appears to have bypassed the clause because – uniquely for

a Royal – he married Camilla Parker Bowles in a civil ceremony.

A dual system operates in the UK whereby marriage certificates are supplied by both register offices and churches.

Those who marry in a church sign a book – the register – which is passed to the local register office once full. But churches typically contact the office before that so records can be updated. Marriage certificates are then available to anyone who supplies the details of a couple and pays a fee of around £7.

But the Marriage Act 1753 states that Royal marriages ‘would not be invalidated by non-compliance with the statutory formalities’.

And the Marriage Act 1949 upholds the Royal prerogative by stating: ‘Nothing in this Act is intended to affect any law or custom relating to marriages of the Royal Family.’

The signing of Westminster Abbey’s register was the only part of the Royal Wedding conducted in private. As well as the bride and groom, it would have been signed by their parents, Prince William’s stepmother the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry, Kate’s sister Pippa, brother James and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Westminster Council last night confirmed: ‘The Royal Wedding certificate is exempt and won’t be publicly available.’

Elegant: Prince Charles and Camilla Duchess of Cornwall at St Georges' Chapel following a blessing of their marriage in 2005



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