Why Meghan Markle won’t be a princess

9198850-3x2-700x467In news that has dominated world headlines, Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle have announced their engagement.

Prince Harry — who is currently fifth in line to the throne — will marry Ms Markle next spring.

So why won’t she become a princess?

Key points

  • Meghan Markle isn’t expected to become a princess
  • She could become a Duchess, like her soon-to-be sister-in-law, the Duchess of Cambridge
  • It’s up to the Queen to give her and Prince Harry the titles

It’s a bit of a complex matter

There’s an old ranking system known as the Peerage.

It covers both hereditary and lifetime titles in the United Kingdom.

The ranking is Duke, Marquess, Earl, Viscount and Baron.

Many royal family members hold titles of Duke and Duchess.

But as a general rule, only those born into the royal family can use the title Prince or Princess, followed by their first name.

For example, Prince George, Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice.

What about Princess Diana?

Well, she got that title because Prince Charles was the Prince of Wales.

He was a prince “twice over” from virtue of his birth to the Queen, and after he became the Prince of Wales in 1969.

When he married, Diana became the Princess of Wales.

She was commonly referred to as Princess Diana, although it wasn’t her official title.




So, what will Meghan Markle likely be called?

At this point it looks like she’ll be a Duchess.

But it’s up to the Queen to give the title to her and Prince Harry.

When Prince William and Catherine Middleton were married, the Queen handed him a “royal dukedom”, and they became the Duke and the Duchess of Cambridge.

And it could be the same case for Prince Harry and his future wife, with a few different titles on offer.

He could become the Duke of Sussex, Clarence, Buckingham, Albany or Connaught.

It’s unlikely he will become the Duke of Windsor.

The last Duke of Windsor was Edward VIII who abdicated from the throne to marry his divorced American girlfriend — which might be a little bit too close to home for the pair.

It’s been rumoured the Duke and Duchess of Sussex is the most likely option.

The last Duke of Sussex was a son of George III, Prince Augustus Frederick, who was a favourite uncle of Queen Victoria and he gave her away at her wedding to Prince Albert.

He died with no legitimate heir in 1843, leaving the title free for more than 150 years.


Hold on, is Catherine a princess?

Well, not yet.

When she and William were given their titles, she became Her Royal Highness, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge.

However, the title of Princess of Wales will likely be passed on to her when the Queen dies.

Once Charles becomes King, Prince William as the heir, will be next in line to become the Prince of Wales.

But it’s up to Charles to officially hand that title on.

Wondering why Camilla, Prince Charles’s wife doesn’t use that title?

She goes by another of her titles, the Duchess of Cornwall, out of respect for the late Princess Diana.