The Monarchy Will Give Harry and Meghan's Future Sons Preferential Treatment Over Daughters
The newly minted Duke and Duchess of Sussex (you might know them better as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle), are now indisputably royals, confirmed by Queen Elizabeth herself on their wedding day. But that doesn't mean their kids will share their status.
As it stands right now, if the newlyweds have a baby girl, she will not inherit a title at all. Historically, the Sussex dukedom titles can be passed down, but only through male heirs. This plight isn't unique to Harry and Meghan's kids though—after all, they have three older cousins who went through it first, and yet they all walked away with some sort of title anyway. So what gives?
Let's break it down: When Prince William and Kate Middleton welcomed Prince George to the world, there was no question of his royal princely status. As the eldest and as a boy, he automatically inherited both his titles and his place in line for the crown, the whole shebang. Princess Charlotte would have been a different case—except Queen Elizabeth stepped in.
In 2013, the queen confirmed that any children of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would be made princes and princess of Cambridge, according to BBC. Previously, the standing rule was that only a son would become prince, and any daughters would not become princesses.
"All the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales should enjoy the style, title and attribute of Royal Highness with the titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their Christian names," the new rule read.
While it makes total sense that in this day and age we wouldn't discriminate against girls, this particular announcement is specific to Prince William's kids. So where, exactly, does that leave Meghan and Harry's future brood?
Right now, it's unclear. Because of the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, any of Meghan and Harry's babies won't lose their place in line for the crown, but that doesn't guarantee them any titles. Dukedom can reportedly be passed down to any boys they have, so as People points out, that means if Harry and Meghan have only girls, that title wil die out.
They might not get prince and princess titles either. These designations are only given to royal kids and grandkids—not great-grandkids. It's the reason why Queen Elizabeth had to step in for George, Charlotte, and Louis. If Meghan and Harry have a baby now, the queen would need to intervene once again in order to grant that to Harry's kids prince and princess titles.
Believe it or not, there are reasons she might not.
If Meghan and Harry don't want their kids to have them, they might prefer things as is, even though that would leave any daughters they have without titles at all. Queen Elizabeth's son Prince Edward did just that in the late '90s, when he and wife Sophie Rhys-Jones opted against the status markers because of "the clear personal wish of Prince Edward and Miss Rhys-Jones as being appropriate to the likely future circumstances of their children," as confirmed by a royal spokeswoman before the couple's wedding.
We're not sure Meghan would be on board with her children having unequal status in the eyes of the monarchy, given her feminist history (she's got "I am proud to be a woman and a feminist" in her official royal bio for a reason), and given that she won't be stopping her advocacy anytime soon, it isn't farfetched to think she'd have a bone to pick about this. It might not be in her control, though.
As Good Housekeeping reports, there have been rumors of Prince Charles wanting to "slim down" the monarchy once he becomes king, which might mean there's less desire in general for a sprawling royal family. Even so, if he succeeds Queen Elizabeth before Meghan and Harry have children, those children will automatically become princes and princesses, as grandkids of the reigning monarch.
Ultimately, time will tell, but we can't help but hope for a new little family of princes and princesses anyway.