Westminster Cathedral congregation welcome Prime Minister’s marriage news

Members of the Westminster Cathedral congregation have welcomed the news that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was secretly married there yesterday.

Regular worshippers at the cathedral said they were “honoured” and “pleased” to learn of his marriage to Carrie Symonds as they attended Sunday Mass, and shared their views on him marrying for a third time.

Christopher Goodyear, a witness protection officer in the Metropolitan Police homicide division, said the news of Boris Johnson’s marriage was “interesting”, adding: “I hope he keeps his trousers on.”

Mr Goodyear, 64, from Chelsea, said: “The Prime Minister getting married here is interesting, I presume it’s the wife who’s the Catholic as he’s been married many times before.

“It’s nice to have a Prime Minister who’s Catholic, so good luck to them.”

When asked what re-marrying within the Catholic faith meant to members of the congregation, he said: “He hadn’t been married to a Catholic before so I wasn’t really that bothered.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Carrie Johnson in the garden of 10 Downing Street after their wedding on Saturday
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Carrie Johnson in the garden of 10 Downing Street after their wedding on Saturday (Rebecca Fulton/Downing Street/PA)

“He’s now married in the Catholic church so he can’t get married again – if he does then that invalidates everything.

“So let’s hope he keeps his trousers on and behaves himself.”

Retired real estate broker from Fulham, Norilyn King, 64 (left) and retired hospital carer, Herminia Supan, 73 (right) (Laura Parnaby/PA).
Retired real estate broker, Norilyn King, 64, from Fulham (left), and retired hospital carer, Herminia Supan, 73 (Laura Parnaby/PA)

Retired friends Norilyn King, 64, Herminia Supan, 73, and Flo Zerrouk, 70, who attend services at the cathedral together twice a week, congratulated the newly-weds and said that “times are different nowadays” allowing for re-marriage under some circumstances.

Ms Zerrouk, a former hotel secretary from Westminster, said: “It’s a great feeling that our Prime Minister and the wife got married here, because I’m proud to be a Catholic and they’re Catholic.

“At last they have finally married – we give them our congratulations.”

Norilyn King, 64, (left) and Herminia Supan, 73
Norilyn King, 64, (left) and Herminia Supan, 73 (Laura Parnaby/PA)

On re-marriage, former retail estate broker Ms King, from Fulham, said: “It’s a personal choice, and they should be respected for it.

“I think marriage is a very solemn thing, so for him to marry for a third time, you know, times are different nowadays, we should just accept people for how they want to live their lives and that’s the way it is.

“We wish them well and congratulations.”

Retired schoolteacher Harry Groenen, from Kingston-upon-Thames, who has been a member of the congregation at Westminster Cathedral for 15 years, said it was an “honour” for the Prime Minister to have been married there, and described what the ceremony might have looked like.

Retired schoolteacher from Kingston-upon-Thames Harry Groenen, 73 (Laura Parnaby/PA).
Retired schoolteacher Harry Groenen, 73, from Kingston-upon-Thames (Laura Parnaby/PA)

Mr Groenen, 73, who has been married for 52 years, said: “(The cathedral) normally does traditional weddings – pomp and ceremony and lots of music – though I’m not sure how it was done yesterday.”

He added that under Pope Francis’ influence, the Catholic church has been “much more liberal and open” to re-marriage, but that some members of his congregation would find it “challenging to accept” the Prime Minister’s nuptials.

Mr Groenen said: “I think that they will be pleased, but there will always be a number of conservative people – some of them younger than I am – who would probably find it a bit challenging to accept, but the world we live in I think it’s no bad thing to show good will and common sense.”