How twice-wed Boris Johnson was able to marry in a Catholic church

Why Boris’s first two marriages ‘didn’t count’: Catholic Diocese of Westminster confirms Prime Minister could get wed in cathedral because as someone baptised in the faith, his previous nuptials were not considered valid

  • Twice divorced Prime Minister married practicing Catholic Carrie Symonds 
  • Previous marriages not considered valid as they were not Catholic ceremonies 
  • Was married to Allegra Mostyn-Owen for six years & Marina Wheeler for 27 years 

Questions were yesterday raised on how twice-divorced Boris Johnson was able to remarry in a Catholic church.

Mr Johnson was baptised as a Catholic but was confirmed as an Anglican as a teenager when he was at Eton. His bride Carrie Symonds is a practising Catholic.

Last night the Diocese of Westminster confirmed that, as someone baptised in the faith, Mr Johnson’s previous marriages were not considered valid because they were not Catholic ceremonies.

So this meant the Prime Minister could marry for the ‘first’ time in a Roman Catholic church.

Twice divorced Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds on their wedding day following a Catholic ceremony

Despite explanations about how their wedding could have been held in accordance with Vatican doctrine, the subject was being keenly discussed yesterday by Westminster Cathedral worshippers.

Some wondered whether Mr Johnson had needed to convert before the nuptials took place, while one even brought up Henry VIII’s troubled love-life as a potential precursor.

But last night a Diocese of Westminster spokesman confirmed: ‘With regard to divorced persons, a baptised Catholic who has contracted a marriage recognised in civil law but without observing the requirements of Catholic Canon Law is not recognised as validly married in the eyes of the Catholic Church.’

Austen Ivereigh, a Roman Catholic author, commentator and biographer of Pope Francis, said on Twitter: ‘Many will ask how it is that the Catholic Church, famous for its vigorous commitment to the permanence of marriage, should be witnessing the marriage of a twice-divorced PM who is publicly notorious for the opposite? What kind of message does that send?

Boris Johnson and his first wife Allegra Mostyn-Owen on their wedding day on September 5 1987

Boris Johnson and second wife Marina Wheeler in 2008

The Prime Minister was married to first wife Allegra Mostyn-Owen for six years and Marina Wheeler for 27 years

‘But Catholics have a right to the sacraments and if they fulfil the requirements in law, and properly enter into them, no one can stop them exercising those rights.’

Mr Johnson was married to first wife Allegra Mostyn-Owen for six years and to second wife Marina Wheeler for 27 years.

A Westminster Cathedral spokesman added: ‘The bride and groom are both parishioners of the Westminster Cathedral parish and baptised Catholics.

‘All necessary steps were taken, in both Church and civil law, and all formalities completed before the wedding. We wish them every happiness.’