The death of Queen Elizabeth II has set off a lot of big changes in the royal family, especially when it comes to the royal title and lineage of the Queen. succession. Prince Charles, heir to the throne, is currently King Charles III, and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, is now Queen Consort. Changes in title also diminished in Charles’ line, as his eldest son Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton became The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridgewith the possibility of becoming the Prince and Princess of Wales if the King chooses to bestow the honor on them.
So, what does that mean for Prince Harry, the second child of King Charles and his wife, Meghan Markle? The couple became the Duke and Duchess of Sussex when they married in 2018, and as they step back as senior working members of the royal family, they lose the honor of being called. Princess and her Royal Highness, but still a duke and duchess.
With Charles’ ascension, it’s unlikely that Harry and Meghan’s titles will change, but it’s possible their children could be upgraded to Prince Archie and Princess Lillibet. That marks a big change as Archie, 3, and Lillibet, 1, were not born with royal titles.
This is due to a letter patent issued by King George V in 1917, stated that only the children of the Most High, the children of the sons of the Most High, and the surviving eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales maybe a prince and a princess. Archie and Lillibet did not fit those descriptions during the reign of their great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth II. But with Charles taking the throne, they qualify as “sons of kings” — Harry’s children. Changes can always be made by the owner. Queen Patent Letter in 2012, allowing all of William’s children to have royal titles, not just Prince George. But the same did not happen with Archie.
When Archie was born in 2019, he may have received the courtesy title Earl of Dumbarton (one of Harry’s titles in Scotland), but it is said that Harry and Meghan have decided to give up that, as well as “His Royal Highness”, so he can live a more private life . However, Meghan revealed that the decision was made for them by the Company. “It was not our decision,” she speak in her interview with Oprah Winfrey. As for why all of William’s children are crowned royals and not Harry’s, Meghan said, “I’ve heard a lot of that through Harry… it’s a decision they feel is appropriate.”
If the titles of prince and princess are given to Archie and Lillibet, then Harry and Meghan will ultimately decide to use them. Considering they’ve moved away from royal duties and moved to California, it’s possible they’ll decline. Other royals have also refused to give their children the titles of princes and princesses when they are eligible, such as Princess Anne and Prince Edward when it comes to their own children.
Erica Gonzales is Senior Culture Editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage of TV, movies, music, books and more. Previously she was the editor of HarpersBAZAAR.com. There’s a 75% chance she’s listening to Lorde right now.