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Royal Wedding: A gay couple have also tied the knot today in a ‘fantastic’ ceremony

Amy Ashenden and Jess Glass May 19, 2018

A gay couple has married on the same day as Prince Harry and the new Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle after twenty years of waiting.

Jon Mansfield and James Aldridge, both artists in their forties, knew after just two months of meeting in 1998 that they wanted to get married, but equal marriage was not yet legal in the UK.

On Saturday, they finally tied the knot after two decades of waiting, though they hadn’t originally planned to clash the date with the royal couple.

Marrying near their home in Wiltshire, John told PinkNews: “It was fantastic. It went really quickly!!”

(Jon Mansfield and James Aldridge)

The pair decided not to change their surnames and Jon and James married in an intimate ceremony in a beautiful Georgian town hall.

They walked down a small aisle together and left the hall as married men to the duet George Michael and Mary J Blige duet ‘As.’

The two 45-year-olds had started to plan their long-awaited wedding four years ago, but after the Royal engagement was announced, the thoughts of clashing were clear.

(Dominic Lipinski – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

“Jon bet we’d end up getting married on the same day as the royals!” James told PinkNews before the ceremony.

“It’s quite bizarre it’s turned out that way, to be honest.”

Related: What do Prince Harry and Meghan Markle really think about LGBT rights?

When the UK law changed in 2014, and their son began asking “When are you going to get married?” they decided it was time to plan the wedding.

Despite giving each other engagement rings 20 years ago, they admit they never expected the law to change.

James told PinkNews: “At first we didn’t think it would become legal.

“Obviously later civil partnerships came into law, but I felt that was gay people being fobbed off and I wanted to wait until a full marriage was possible.”

Jon and James

Jon added: “I was quite shocked that it came out of a Conservative government – I thought good on [former Prime Minister David] Cameron for the first time.

“The Labour government made huge changes to LGBT lives so when Cameron did something positive, it was quite a shock.”

Related: the LGBT guests and allies who watched Prince Harry and Meghan Markle marry

They plan to spend their honeymoon in Greece where they’ve previously been on holiday together as a family.

The pair explained they wanted to share their story to send a message to other LGBTQ people that “you can be a happy gay person.

James and Jon back in the day

“We’ve been joined at the hip for 20 years almost and now there’s a small person wedged in between us,” Jon said.

James added: “We’re quite private people but when I was younger I couldn’t see anyone like me so I couldn’t see a future path for myself, so I think it’s important to share this story.

“We want to add to the visibility of happy gay people.”

 

More: gay couple, gay marriage, marriage, meghan markle, prince harry, Royal wedding, Royal Wedding, royal wedding 2018, Same-sex wedding, wedding

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