The Instrument of Consent allowing the couple to marry
This is the Instrument of Consent, which features decorative artwork that represents the bride and groom. The document has a gold cipher* of the couple’s entwined* initials on the right-hand side, beneath the Prince’s coronet*. The white lily represents St Catherine of Siena, whose feast day falls on April 29, the wedding day. Beneath it is a Welsh leek surrounded by the Prince’s white, three-pronged label denoting second in line to the throne, and a tiny red escallop from the Spencer family Arms, representing his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.
The Great Seal of the Realm (not in the picture) is the chief seal of the Crown and is proof of a monarch’s formal consent to a state document, or in this case, the marriage of an heir to the throne. Red sealing wax is melted into a metal mould to create a seal that is attached to gold braiding on to the document. The seal was first used by Edward the Confessor in the 11th century to prevent forgery and tampering. The Queen’s Great Seal of the Realm, the second of her reign, was created in 2001.
The text ends with a red dragon, the heraldic symbol of Wales. On the left are the UK’s floral emblems: the rose, thistle and shamrock*. The three emblems have the Garter belt*, the Prince’s blue and gold Order of the Garter, draped over them.
The large “E” on the left represents the Queen. Her signature (the underlined Elizabeth R) is on the top right. The document would have been signed by the Queen herself at a meeting of the Privy Council* after the monarch made a formal Declaration of Consent.
The Royal Marriages Act of 1772 states that all descendants of George II must obtain the sovereign’s agreement before they marry, otherwise wedlock is invalid. George III, George II’s grandson, ordered the Act after his younger brother, the Duke of Cumberland, secretly married Lady Anne Horton, deemed to be a highly disreputable widow of a commoner. The King was concerned that he was losing control of the line of succession.
* gold cipher - goldener Namenszug
* entwined - verschlungen
* coronet - kleine Krone
* shamrock - (irisches) Kleeblatt
* Garter belt - Strumpfhaltergürtel
* Privy Council - Geheimer Rat
Source: Thanks to the TimesOnline of April 22, 2011