First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage. As Kensington Palace announce that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are expecting their first child, let us have a fun look at what titles their children could have if they decide to go that route.
As long as Queen Elizabeth is still on the throne, Prince Harry and Meghan’s children won’t be prince or princess. The Letters Patent 1917 issued by George V read “…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.”
Queen Elizabeth did step in when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had their first child, changing the Letters Patent to include absolute primogeniture in 2012. This meant that all children of the couple would be titled prince or princess instead of if their firstborn had been a girl she would have been styled as ‘Lady’ and the first boy would have been ‘HRH Prince’.
As Royal Historian, Marlene Koenig pointed out “In 1999, when Prince Edward married, it was announced on the morning that his children would be styled as children of an earl.”
Adding on “No announcement about children came on Harry’s wedding, which leads me to think that there will be a Letters Patent before the first child to make sure the children are royal.”
According to Koenig, “there is a loophole. The Letters Patent does not refer to what would happen if great grandchildren become grandchildren in the male line.” For that reason is why Koenig is sure The Queen will issue them before the birth.
Should the children be born after Charles is king, those children will be styled as grandchildren of the monarch.
If Her Majesty does not issue Letters Patent before the birth of Harry and Meghan’s first child “the eldest son will be the Earl of Dumbarton. Daughters will be Lady Christian name and younger sons as Lord Christian name,” further explains Koenig.