Instrument of Consent
Under the terms of the Royal Marriages Act 1772 the Monarch is required to formally approve the marriage of her children and most direct descendents of King George II before their marriage. The formal approval is evidenced by a legal Instrument called an Instrument of Consent. The process involved is for The Queen to make a formal Declaration of Consent at a meeting of the Privy Council at which she also signs the Instrument of Consent and a Warrant directing the Lord Chancellor to pass that Instrument under (seal with) the Great Seal of the Realm. The Warrant is drawn up by The Crown Office. This sets out the text of the Instrument of Consent and contains a direction to the Lord Chancellor that a document in those terms be sealed. Her Majesty formally gave her consent to the marriage of Prince William to Catherine Middleton under the 1772 Act by making the Declaration at the meeting of the Privy Council on the 9th February 2011.
The Instrument of Consent is drafted by the Crown Office and is in the case of Prince William's marriage hand written and illuminated on vellum by one of a panel of scrivener/artists retained by the Crown Office. Vellum is only used for the most important State documents and there are only a small numbers of vellum suppliers in the United Kingdom. In this instance the vellum has been supplied by William Cowley, a company based in Newport Pagnell.
The Instrument of Consent is sealed with the Great Seal of the Realm and is attached or suspended from the foot of the document by woven cords sealed within the Great Seal itself. The Queen signs the Warrant and it is countersigned by the Lord Chancellor, whose counter-signature is his approval that the terms of the Instrument of Consent correspond with the text contained within the Warrant. The Instrument of Consent is one of the very few Instruments that pass under the Great Seal which actually bear The Queen's signature. The Instrument of Consent will be given to the Couple after they are married, but is currently stored at the Crown Office.
The Instrument of Consent is given to Prince William and Catherine Middleton after the wedding.
Background re artwork
The "E" for Elizabeth and the lion are in raised gold and this design is one of a number currently used on the most important Letters Patent (of which the Instrument of Consent is one). "Elizabeth The Second By The Grace of God" is in RAF Blue. The design in the left margin shows Prince William's Coronet, the United Kingdom Floral emblems - the rose, thistle and shamrock and the Garter belt. In the right margin the white Lily represents St Catherine of Siena, who is commemorated on the 29th April. Prince William's Coronet, a cipher (but not the official cipher, which will remain a private symbol for the Couple) - an intertwined 'C' and 'W' and the Welsh leek surrounded by Prince William's label, taken from the Spencer Family Arms. The red dragon at the end of the text is a well-known heraldic symbol of Wales and the principal device on the Welsh flag.