This Inheritance Law Could Stop Harry And Meghan's Children Receiving Royal Titles
By Katie Rosseinsky Posted on 5 Jun 2018
It’s official: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are expecting their first child! Kensington Palace confirmed the happy news in a statement, revealing that the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex are set to welcome a baby in spring 2019. But which royal titles are Harry and Meghan’s future son or daughter set to take?
As a son of the heir to the throne, Harry is, of course, a Prince, but unlike his nephews and niece, his own children will not be able to take the title of prince or princess. This is because of a letters patent passed in 1917 by King George V, which decreed that: ‘the grandchildren of the sons of any such Sovereign in the direct male line (save only the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales) shall have and enjoy in all occasions the style and title enjoyed by the children of Dukes of these Our Realms.’
In other words, great-grandchildren through the male line of the reigning monarch (that’s the Queen, ICYMI) would not receive the style of HRH, except for the eldest grandson of the Prince of Wales (that’s Prince George). So, despite the fact that Harry and Meghan’s eldest child would actually be seventh in line to the throne, they would not receive the royal style of HRH. Hmm. However, before the birth of Princess Charlotte in 2015, the Queen stepped in to shake things up and ensured that the Cambridges’ second child would also have a royal title, as would Prince Louis and any future offspring.
Look back at royal babies through the years in the gallery below…
Had the Queen not done so, Charlotte and Louis would have taken the titles of Lady Charlotte Mountbatten-Windsor and Lord Louis Mountbatten-Windsor respectively - and a daughter of Harry and Meghan could expect to take the same. Should they have a son, however, that child would take one of Prince Harry’s subsidiary titles, such as Earl of Dumbarton; any future son would be Lord (name) Mounbatten-Windsor. This is all down to the outdated inheritance laws, which ensure that titles and land can only be passed down to male heirs (Downton Abbey, anyone?)
However, there’s always the possibility that the Queen might choose to make an exception and change up the rules once again (she is, after all, the Queen). Conversely, Harry and Meghan might opt out of passing on a royal title to their children. Princess Anne famously decided against giving a title to her children, Peter and Zara Philips; similarly, Prince Edward, the Queen’s fourth child, and his wife the Countess of Wessex decided that their children would be styled as Lady Louise Windsor and Viscount Severn (one of the Prince’s subsidiary titles), rather than take the titles of Princess or Prince.
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