Boris Johnson married girlfriend Carrie Symonds in a secret ceremony this morning, the Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Mr Johnson, 56, exchanged vows with Ms Symonds, 33, in Catholic Westminster Cathedral in front of a handful of close friends and family – becoming the first Prime Minister to marry in office since Lord Liverpool married Mary Chester in 1822.
It comes just six days after the couple – who became engaged on the Caribbean island of Mustique in December 2019 and have baby Wilfred, aged one – sent out save-the-date cards to guests telling them to keep Saturday, July 30, 2022 free for a marriage celebration.
Despite sending out the cards, the couple are understood to have been secretly planning the small ceremony for six months.
Under current Covid rules there is a limit of 30 guests at weddings – although the cap is expected to be lifted on June 21st – ‘freedom day’ – when most restrictions are expected to be lifted.
With Mr Johnson set to be back at work next week, it looks unlikely the couple will have a honeymoon.
Boris Johnson married girlfriend Carrie Symonds in a secret ceremony this morning, the Mail on Sunday can reveal
Mr Johnson, 56, exchanged vows with Ms Symonds, 33, in Catholic Westminster Cathedral (pictured) in front of a handful of close friends and family – becoming the first Prime Minister to marry in office since Lord Liverpool married Mary Chester in 1822
The couple became engaged on the Caribbean island of Mustique in December 2019 and have baby Wilfred, aged one (pictured together with their dog Dilyn)
They kissed after exchanging their vows for Father Daniel Humphreys, who baptised Wilfred (pictured on Ms Symonds’ Instagram today) into the faith at the same cathedral last autumn
Mr Johnson’s father, Stanley, was photographed outside No10 this evening with his daughter Julia, shortly after attending the service
It comes just six days after the couple sent out save-the-date cards to guests telling them to keep Saturday, July 30, 2022 free for a marriage celebration. Pictured: Guests leaving Downing Street after the wedding. It is not clear what their relation to the newlyweds is
Despite sending out the cards, the couple are understood to have been secretly planning the small ceremony for six months. Pictured: A guest leaving Downing Street after the wedding. It is not clear what their relation to the newlyweds is
Musicians were also seen leaving Downing Street this evening. Ms Symonds wore a white dress, without a veil, for the ceremony and walked down the aisle to the strains of classical music
One guest described Ms Symonds as looking ‘extremely happy’ and Mr Johnson as ‘very smart and dapper….he didn’t take his eyes of her’. Pictured: Musicians leaving Downing Street this evening
The ceremony was officiated by Father Daniel Humphries (pictured). He baptised the couple’s one-year-old son Wilfred last year and gave them their pre-marriage instructions.
During Covid, many couples have held a small marriage ceremony with just close friends – while arranging a larger celebration for after the end of all restrictions.
The 30 guests were invited at the last minute, with only a handful of church officials were involved in the preparations for the service at 2pm today: armed police stood guard as visitors were ushered out half an hour earlier by staff who told them the building was going into lockdown,
Ms Symonds wore a white dress, without a veil, for the ceremony and walked down the aisle to the strains of classical music.
They kissed after exchanging their vows for Father Daniel Humphreys, who baptised Wilfred into the faith at the same cathedral last autumn.
Last night, cathedral chaplain Father Michael Donaghy admitted even he didn’t know the identity of the VIP bride and groom until it was all over. He said: ‘It’s been kept very confidential.’ One witness told how the party was ‘bundled into a car’ after leaving the cathedral
Ms Symonds is a practising Catholic. Mr Johnson abandoned his mother’s Catholicism and became an Anglican joining the Church of England while at Eton.
How can divorced people get married in a Catholic church?
The Roman Catholic church does not allow divorcees to be married in its churches.
But there are a couple of ways divorced non-Catholics can remarry in an official venue.
Catherine Pepinster, Catholic author and broadcaster, explained that as Boris Johnson was himself baptised a Catholic but married previously in non-Catholic settings, the church did not recognise his previous marriages.
She said: ‘As far as the Church is concerned, this is his first marriage.
‘They don’t need to be annulled.
‘They didn’t happen, according to Roman Catholic canon law.’
In other instances – for those who were not baptised as Catholics – marriages that were divorced in civil law must be annulled in church law before another wedding can take place in a Catholic church.
This relies on the church finding that the marriage was never properly entered into in the first place.
The church recognises that divorce is sometimes necessary for none Catholics to settle civil matters, such as childcare.
One guest described Ms Symonds as looking ‘extremely happy’ and Mr Johnson as ‘very smart and dapper….he didn’t take his eyes of her’.
While their official guest list is still under lock and key, Mr Johnson’s father, Stanley, was photographed outside No10 this evening with his daughter Julia, shortly after attending the service.
Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster was the first political figure to send her best wishes, writing on Twitter: ‘Huge congratulations to Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds on your wedding day.’
Keir Starmer said: ‘Congratulations to Boris & Carrie. Whatever our political differences, I wish them a happy life together’.
Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker of the House of Commons, said: ‘What pleasant news. I wish the Prime Minister and Carrie well, and hope he has time for a honeymoon!’
But Labour former frontbencher Jon Trickett said the wedding was ‘a good way to bury this week’s bad news’ on Mr Cummings’ testimony, the spread of the Indian coronavirus variant and the row about funding of the Downing Street flat.
Until today’s ceremony, the pair had been the first unmarried couple to reside in Downing Street.
They live in a flat above No.11 Downing Street with their son and a Jack Russell-cross puppy called Dilyn.
Ms Symonds, who becomes the third Mrs Johnson, announced their engagement on social media in February 2020, at the same time as she disclosed her pregnancy.
Friends of the couple say the pandemic interrupted their plans to marry sooner.
It has been suggested in the past that Ms Symonds could not become a fully-fledged ‘first lady’ until the couple were married.
Mr Johnson was coy when asked about the subject in 2019, telling reporters that marriage speculation was ‘a tiny bit premature’.
The PM’s first marriage to Allegra Mostyn-Owen was annulled in 1993.
He then married childhood friend Marina Wheeler. The pair were separated in 2018, and divorced in February 2020.
The marriage to Ms Symond’s is Mr Johnson’s third, after he was first married at the age of 23 to Ms Mostyn-Owen in 1987. They met while they were students at Oxford.
Their union was annulled in 1993 after it emerged he was having an affair with childhood friend Ms Wheeler who he married in 1993.
But they separated in 2018. Their divorce was finalised after he arrived in Downing Street in 2019.
Mr Johnson and Ms Wheeler have two daughters, Lara Lettice, 26, and Cassia Peaches, 22, and two sons Milo Arthur, 24, and Theodore Apollo, 20, together.
Mr Johnson had affairs with three women during their 25-year marriage.
The PM also has a fifth child, Stephanie Macintyre, with art consultant Helen Macintyre. It is now known if any of his children attended the wedding today.
In 2013 it emerged during another court hearing that Mr Johnson had fathered a daughter during an adulterous liaison while Mayor of London in 2009.
In 2004, he was sacked from the Tory frontbench over a reported affair with journalist Petronella Wyatt.
Claims that Mr Johnson squeezed the thigh of journalist Charlotte Edwardes, at a private lunch at The Spectator magazine’s HQ shortly after he became editor in 1999, overshadowed his first Conservative Party conference as PM.
It comes just six days after the couple – who became engaged in December 2019 and have baby Wilfred, aged one – sent out save-the-date cards to guests telling them to keep Saturday, July 30, 2022 free for a marriage celebration. Pictured: The PM’s father Stanley Johnson outside No10 today
Ms Symonds, a former Conservative Party communications chief, was romantically linked to Mr Johnson just months after the announcement of his separation from Ms Wheeler.
She joined the Tory party media machine in 2009, first as a press adviser, then head of broadcast at Conservative campaign headquarters ahead of the 2015 general election.
Her association with Mr Johnson dates back to the early years, having worked on his successful re-election bid at City Hall in 2012.
But a row that saw police called to their home in the early stages of the Conservative leadership race offered a glimpse into the complicated private life about which Mr Johnson tries desperately to avoid answering questions.
The couple had been living together at Ms Symonds’s flat in Camberwell, south London, until the well-publicised row recorded by neighbours in June 2019.
Ms Symonds waved with now-husband on the steps outside the famous black door following the Conservatives thumping victory
While he was still married, he began dating PR guru and Tory adviser Ms Symonds (pictured in 2019 at the party conference in Manchester)
Mr Johnson and Ms Symonds watch the 2019 Election results on the TV in his study in No10 Downing Street
When she announced the news of the engagement she captioned the intimate holiday picture, in which he was kissing her cheek: ‘I wouldn’t normally post this kind of thing on here but I wanted my friends to find out from me… many of you already know but for my friends that still don’t, we got engaged at the end of last year… and we’ve got a baby hatching early summer.’
Weeks later the couple was thrown into turmoil as the Prime Minister lay in intensive care with Covid and was given a 50-50 chance of surviving.
The Roman Catholic church does not allow divorcees to be married in its churches.
But Catherine Pepinster, Catholic author and broadcaster, explained that as Mr Johnson was himself baptised a Catholic but married previously in non-Catholic settings, the church did not recognise his previous marriages. She said: ‘As far as the Church is concerned, this is his first marriage.
‘They don’t need to be annulled.
‘They didn’t happen, according to Roman Catholic canon law.’
Downing Street declined to comment last night.
The couple chose to live at the larger four-bedroom flat at No 11 Downing Street instead of the smaller two-bedroom official residence at No10
It has been suggested in the past that Ms Symonds (pictured with the PM) could not become a fully-fledged ‘first lady’ until the couple were married
‘Very much in love’: How Boris Johnson’s relationship with Tory aide Carrie Symonds survived ‘everything thrown at them’ but they have ‘come out the other side still smiling’
By Ian Gallagher For The Mail On Sunday
Only their closest friends, one imagines, were privy to the birth of the Boris-Carrie love affair.
Everyone else was left to pick up a trail of tantalising clues. But it was ever thus with the now thrice-married Prime Minister who – probably more than most politicians – finds the dissection of his love life distinctly uncomfortable.
Having split from Marina Wheeler, his second wife of 25 years, in 2018, there was little pause before Mr Johnson was publicly linked to Carrie Symonds, described at the time as a ‘party-loving Tory aide’.
By then, in fact, she had been a high-profile figure in Westminster for almost a decade, holding senior positions at Tory HQ and as an adviser to Cabinet Ministers.
Tellingly, noted the gossips, she was inclined to praise Mr Johnson, then Foreign Secretary, on Twitter.
Mr Johnson and Ms Symonds watch the 2019 Election results on the TV in his study in No10 Downing Street
Typical was one comment accompanying a link to a speech. ‘This is really worth watching. Boris absolutely brilliant in debate on Brexit and Foreign Policy earlier this week,’ she wrote.
It wasn’t long before they were said to enjoy a ‘strong friendship’, prompting closer scrutiny of Mr Johnson’s glamorous friend.
Profiles at the time recorded that she attended leading private girls’ school Godolphin and Latymer in West London, became a Tory press officer in 2009 and worked on the successful ‘Back Boris’ campaign to re-elect Mr Johnson as London Mayor in 2012.
She was appointed director of communications at Conservative Campaign Headquarters but left amid claims of rows with No10 over her closeness to Mr Johnson’s camp.
By September 2018, with rumours about her friendship with Mr Johnson swirling around Westminster, it was reported he had been seen in Rules restaurant in Covent Garden with a ‘young attractive’ blonde woman. They are said to have spent two hours at a corner table while two bodyguards sat nearby.
At the time, one onlooker was reported as saying: ‘It seemed quite an intimate meal and hardly anything to do with any great matters of State.’
Was Carrie the mystery blonde? Nobody seemed to know for sure, but just a week before the dinner, they had been photographed together at the Conservatives’ fundraising Black and White Ball in London.
Firmer evidence emerged in the form of ‘mischievous text messages from Boris’ which Ms Symonds showed to friends at a wedding.
One fellow guest reportedly said: ‘Carrie was having a good time and was quite thrilled with all the texts she was getting. Then all of a sudden a car turned up and everyone said Carrie was off in Boris’s car. There was speculation that it might even have been a ministerial car that picked her up because it was a nice motor.’
But for many, the clincher came when Mr Johnson attended Ms Symonds’s Abba-themed 30th birthday party. ‘Crikey,’ said one pal at the time. ‘He must really be smitten to endure that.’
Their deepening relationship emerged in headlines. At one event they were described as ‘inseparable’.
A few months later, they were ‘very much in love’.
Then Ms Symonds had a picture of a smiling Mr Johnson as a screensaver on her phone and then she was referring to him affectionately as ‘Bozzie Bear’.
What was true and what creative licence is unclear but their romance had become such that they co-hosted a New Year’s Eve champagne and canapes party at her South East London flat in 2018 for a small group of friends.
Friends commented on Mr Johnson’s new slimline look – he’d lost around 18lb, for which he credited his girlfriend. A smart haircut which replaced his famously disorderly mop, was also her doing.
At the time, one friend noted: ‘Carrie and Boris have an extremely passionate relationship – it can also be a tad volatile from time to time. Neither are short of an opinion and Boris loves that she stands up to him and holds her own.’
This volatility found vivid expression in June 2019 when police were called to their home after neighbours heard a loud altercation involving screaming, shouting and banging. Wine was a key factor.
Nosey neighbours heard Mr Johnson refusing to leave the flat and telling his girlfriend to ‘get off my f****** laptop’ before a loud crashing noise. Ms Symonds then accused him of ruining the sofa with red wine.
‘You just don’t care for anything because you are spoilt,’ she reportedly said.
Ms Symonds released an intimate picture (pictured), also thought to have been taken during the trip, on her personal Instagram page depicting the unshaven Prime Minister kissing her cheek
Friends of the couple later explained that the laptop was being used to search the internet for solutions to remove wine stains from upholstery.
Had the episode irreparably imperilled their relationship? Feverish speculation ensued, but in riposte, canny PR Carrie triumphantly rustled up evidence that talk of a crisis was wide of the mark: a picture of the couple locked in a gaze, hands entwined, against the verdant backdrop of the Sussex Downs.
Crucially, this serene image of love and tranquility was captured, said friends, after the crockery-breaking barney, which in any case, had merely been a lovers’ tiff.
What’s more, the allies added, the couple were preparing to get married.
Nimco Ali, an activist and close friend of Ms Symonds who accompanied her to the launch of Mr Johnson’s leadership campaign, said on the subject of marriage: ‘That’s the expectation. They are happy and good for each other. Carrie is an amazing woman.’
Another confidante said at the time: ‘The truth is that they love each other very much and want to get married as soon as the time is right. Boris only has eyes for Carrie and she is totally smitten with him.’
Something of an official seal on their romance came a few months later when Carrie met the Queen during Mr Johnson’s formal visit to Balmoral on Royal Deeside. It was the first time that an unmarried partner had accompanied a serving Prime Minister on the traditional annual engagement.
From then on, Ms Symonds didn’t put a foot wrong. It was, however, at her now husband’s side during his December 2019 Election victory that she really came into her own, demonstrating what some called a masterclass in how to be a successful First Lady.
Having been labelled by cynics as ‘the other woman’ and cast by gossips as little more than another notch on Mr Johnson’s bedpost, the campaign had brought out the best in Ms Symonds, allowing her to prove that she was unpretentious, smart and unfailingly cheerful with it.
The stage was set for a special announcement, which after much speculation, came in March the following year: the couple were engaged and expecting their first child
It is thought that Mr Johnson proposed during a romantic break in Mustique over Christmas.
Ms Symonds released an intimate picture, also thought to have been taken during the trip, on her personal Instagram page depicting the unshaven Prime Minister kissing her cheek.
The accompanying message said: ‘I wouldn’t normally post this kind of thing on here but I wanted my friends to find out from me… many of you already know but for my friends that still don’t, we got engaged at the end of last year… and we’ve got a baby hatching early summer.’
In another first for Ms Symonds, it was noted that she was the first unmarried partner of a Prime Minister to live in Downing Street. Her life there, by any reckoning, has been extraordinary.
She caught Covid-19, saw her fiancé almost die from the virus and had her first child.
Then she was splashed all over newspapers’ front pages portrayed as the Machiavellian power behind the throne who had somehow single-handedly engineered a purge of the once all powerful Downing Street team led by Dominic Cummings.
It became known that she vehemently opposed the appointment of former Vote Leave adviser Lee Cain as the PM’s chief of staff. Briefings about the war between Ms Symonds and Mr Cummings abounded – many of them personally insulting and sexist.
‘When she was first with Boris she was dismissed as a bimbo.
‘Now she’s Lady Macbeth – as if women can only be typecast into those two roles,’ said one ally.
‘It’s totally sexist.’
Newspapers picked by Ms Symonds’s enemies were informed by unnamed sources that she was known on Whitehall as ‘Princess Nut Nut’ and described as emotionally demanding.
‘Heaven knows there can be few couples who have endured more,’ said one friend.
‘They have had everything thrown at them but it is a testament to the strength of their partnership – and to their love – that they have come out the other side still smiling – and still very much in love.’
THREE weddings, three affairs and a pole-dancing tech-guru: The very busy love life of Boris Johnson
By Nick Enoch for MailOnline
The news that Boris Johnson has married Carrie Symonds marks the latest chapter in the PM’s turbulent love life.
His first marriage at the age of 23 to Allegra Mostyn-Owen in 1987 collapsed six years later after it emerged he was having an affair with childhood friend Marina Wheeler.
Boris’s subsequent marriage to Marina lasted 25 years – during which he had affairs with three women.
Here, we outline the Prime Minister’s colourful past relationships – as well as his links to one alleged lover of his – former pole dancer, and tech guru, Jennifer Arcuri.
1987: The first wife, Allegra Mostyn-Owen, whom he met at Oxford
Boris married his Oxford University sweetheart Allegra Mostyn-Owen in 1987 when they were both aged 23.
They divorced in 1993 after his affair with the woman who would become his second wife, Marina Wheeler.
The daughter of renowned art historian William Mostyn-Owen and flamboyant Italian writer Gaia Servadio, Allegra was a socialite and former Tatler cover girl whose beauty had besotted young men falling at her feet at Oxford University.
‘When we got married, that was actually the end of the relationship instead of the beginning,’ Allegra would later say.
Their relationship ended after six years following revelations of his affair with Marina Wheeler QC, who was a childhood friend of Boris.
Marina became pregnant with the first of their four children before his divorce from Allegra was finalised.
Johnson later reconciled with Mostyn-Owen before they separated in February 1990 and divorced in 1993 – just 12 days before he married Marina Wheeler, whom he had a child with five weeks later.
Boris Johnson married Oxford University sweetheart Allegra Mostyn-Owen (pictured together) in 1987 when they were both aged 23
1993: Boris marries Marina Wheeler – the woman who stood by him for years… but left her just as he was on the brink of becoming PM
Marina Wheeler married Boris on May 8, 1993 – just 12 days after his divorce from Allegra was finalised on April 26.
Together, Boris and Marina have four children: Lara Lettice, Milo Arthur, Cassia Peaches and Theodore Apollo.
After first meeting Boris at the European School of Brussels, they also attended private boarding school Bedales in Hampshire together before she went to Cambridge.
Born in Berlin in 1964, she is of English and Indian Sikh descent. After being called to the bar in 1987, Marina returned to London.
Marina and Boris met again in London when they were both in their mid-twenties.
The couple remained married for 25 years despite Boris’s spectacularly colourful love life.
Marina endured multiple public humiliations over Boris’s well-publicised affairs – locking her high profile husband out of the house more than once – only to forgive him, prior to their final split in 2018.
Marina Wheeler married Boris married on May 8, 1993 – just 12 days after his divorce from Allegra was finalised on April 26. (The pair are pictured in 2015)
Together, Boris and Marina (above, in 2008) have four children: Lara Lettice, Milo Arthur, Cassia Peaches and Theodore Apollo
2004: Petronella Wyatt and the ‘inverted pyramid of piffle’
In 2004, Boris’s four-year affair with journalist and society author Petronella Wyatt (pictured), the daughter of Labour grandee Lord Wyatt, became public
Around seven years into his marriage to Marina, she became aware that Boris was having an affair with Petronella Wyatt, daughter of Margaret Thatcher’s favourite journalist Woodrow Wyatt.
In 2004, it was reported that ‘Petsy’ may have had an abortion, to which Boris declared to The Mail on Sunday: ‘I had not had an affair with Petronella.
‘It is complete balderdash. It is an inverted pyramid of piffle.’
Boris was soon found to be lying and after days of publicity, Tory leader Michael Howard sacked Johnson from his position as Shadow Culture Minister.
2006: Emergence of liaisons with Anna Fazackerley
Alongside this, Marina was also alerted to another affair that Boris had been having with journalist Anna Fazackerley, which emerged in 2006.
When the affairs garnered publicity, it also became public knowledge that Marina had become pregnant at the time that Boris was still married to Allegra, who was quoted saying: ‘I divorced him for adultery. It enabled him to marry Marina.’
The divorce had been finalised on April 26, 1993 and Boris married Marina on May 8 of the same year, with Lara Johnson being born on June 12.
Marina threw her husband out of their home after his affair with Anna was publicised, but they soon worked things out.
In 2006, it emerged Boris had been having an affair with journalist Anna Fazackerley (left). Mr Johnson is said to have fathered a child with art consultant Helen Macintyre (right) in 2009. It is understood Miss Wheeler again kicked him out of the family home
2009: The love child with Helen Macintyre
In 2009, Mr Johnson is said to have fathered a child with art consultant Helen Macintyre.
It is understood Mrs Wheeler had, again, kicked him out of the family home at the time.
Mr Johnson’s fatherhood of Miss Macintyre’s daughter was first revealed by the Daily Mail in July 2010.
In 2013, a court ruled that it was in the public interest for the Press to report Mr Johnson was the father.
Police probe into Boris’s links with his alleged lover Jennifer Arcuri
Mr Johnson has faced two separate inquiries over his relationship with American former pole dancer and tech entrepreneur Jennifer Arcuri, 34, while he was Mayor of London, both of which were put on hold during the election.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has been evaluating whether to investigate the Prime Minister for possible criminal offence of misconduct in public office since September.
The watchdog confirmed it was doing a ‘scoping exercise’ to track down witnesses globally, and said that it had ‘never put a timescale on how long this process would take’, according to the Observer.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has been evaluating whether to investigate the Prime Minister for possible criminal offence of misconduct in public office since September. (Above, Ms Arcuri strikes a pose)
Boris Johnson and Jennifer Arcuri pictured together on October 14, 2014. The PM faces intense scrutiny about their relationship
In a statement, the IPOC said that the allegation date back ‘eight years’ and they have to ‘locate and speak with a number of potential witnesses both in the country and abroad’.
Mr Johnson has consistently denied any wrongdoing in relation to his friendship with Ms Arcuri.
On October 3, 2019, Ms Arcuri told the Daily Mail she had ‘every right’ to go on trade missions with Mr Johnson. She calls all the allegations false, saying she is a ‘legitimate businesswoman’.
It follows a report by The Sunday Times that Ms Arcuri, an American who moved to London seven years ago, was given £126,000 in public money and was treated to privileged access to three foreign trade missions led by Mr Johnson while he was mayor.
The Government has since frozen a £100,000 grant to Ms Arcuri’s company, Hacker House, pending a review.
It is facing embarrassing questions about the verification process carried out before awarding the money.
Digital Minister Matt Warman told the Commons that his department had done the ‘usual due diligence’ and that the company had a British phone number.
However, numerous reports said calls to the number were directed to an office in California, where Ms Arcuri, 34, is said to now be based.
Boris Johnson’s divorce from Marina Wheeler
Boris Johnson and his estranged wife Marina Wheeler agreed a divorce settlement on February 18 2020, following a legal dispute over money.
Judge Sarah Gibbons oversaw a private hearing in the Central Family Court in London, which neither party attended.
During the short hearing, she gave Ms Wheeler permission to apply for a Decree Absolute, which would bring the marriage to an end.
A case number revealed Mr Johnson, who is now living with Carrie Symonds at Downing Street, and Ms Wheeler were involved in a dispute over money or assets.
Marina Claire Wheeler was named as the ‘petitioner’ and ‘applicant’ in the case, while Alexander Boris De Pfeffel Johnson was named as the ‘respondent’.
Mr Johnson was said to have had £6.5million in cash and assets as of September 2018, but will have likely seen his wealth rise since becoming Prime Minister last July.
It is therefore plausible that Ms Wheeler will be receiving around £4million if it is an equal split. However, the judge said no detail from the case relating to money can be revealed in reports, apart from what is already in the public domain.
Judge Gibbons gave Ms Wheeler permission to apply for the decree absolute ‘out of time’.
This suggests that she was granted a decree nisi by the courts more than a year ago.
Those who are successfully granted a decree nisi have up to a year to apply for the next stage of divorce, the decree absolute.