Church leaders have welcomed the news of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement and urged prayer for the young couple.
Dr Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, said: ‘I have met Prince Harry on a number of occasions and have always been struck by his commitment and passion for his charities, and his immense love for his family.
‘Marriage is a special and joyous commitment, one Jesus celebrated together with friends at the wedding in Cana. I am so happy Prince Harry and Ms Markle have chosen to make their vows before God’.
Both Ms Markle and Prince Harry have suffered emotional upheaval in their lives; the American actress has gone through a divorce and endured racial abuse, while the Prince, of course, lost his mother Diana in very public and tragic circumstances.
Moreover, both have seen their own parents go through separation and divorce and are now coping with the weight of expectation that living in the media limelight brings to the royal marriage, which has been scheduled for May 2018 at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.
Whatever may have characterised certain aspects of the young couple’s past, it is important that Christians lift them up in prayer, especially as the church wedding, following the Anglican Service Book, will potentially be a witness to a watching world of God’s design for marriage.
Graham Nicholls, director of Affinity, has commented: ‘It is easy to be cynical about the media obsession with the soap opera that is our Royal Family. However, I must admit as I watched their interview on the BBC, I found myself smiling with them and was left with the impression of an authentic relationship of love and mutual respect.
‘So, let us congratulate them for taking this step of commitment. Marriage is a great thing, “an honourable estate, instituted by God”, as described in the words of the Service Book. God gave it to us for building happy and healthy communities, but also as a reflection of his own commitment to his people’.
Moreover, the wider Royal Family deserves prayer. A statement from Word on the streets summarised: ‘The Queen and Prince Philip recently celebrated 70 years of marriage. Prince Charles and Camilla have taken on many royal duties. Prince William and Kate are expecting their third child in April.
‘Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have announced their engagement. Pray God would help them in their relationships and in carrying out their duties, they would grow in faith, and be protected and strengthened’.