The clock is ticking to Meghan, Duchess of Sussex’s due date and everyone is holding their breath for the arrival of Baby Sussex. But before that, Prince Harry and Meghan have a major decision to make: Will Baby Sussex get a title of prince or princess?
The decision is not as obvious as you may think. The title of prince or princess won’t automatically be granted to Harry and Meghan’s firstborn. Like all things royal, the question of titles for the wee babe would get the Facebook status It’s complicated.
There’s titles, and there’s line of succession to the throne. Succession is more straightforward. Could Baby Sussex ever become king or queen? Unlikely, as he or she will be seventh in line to the throne — always behind Harry, but ahead of any other kids Harry and Meghan have. And we’re guessing Harry and Meghan — both very private people — are relieved that their little one will escape the brutal responsibilities of being a reigning monarch.
Titles, well, those are more complicated. Titles can make or break you when it comes to just how carefree a childhood you can have with royal DNA — and no doubt the decision is weighing heavily on the soon-to-be parents.
Baby Sussex *might* be off the hook, legally, with no fancy title at all. That’s because in 2012, Harry’s granny, Queen Elizabeth II, issued the new Letters Patent, which basically said all of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge’s kids can also be princes and princesses. The Letters Patent doesn’t cover Harry and Meghan’s progeny.
According to reports from Town and Country, if the baby is a boy, his name will be “styled” as the Earl of Dumbarton, a clunky moniker if we’ve ever heard one. If it’s a girl, she’ll be Lady [insert hopefully lovely series of first names here].
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The @bristololdvic1766 is the oldest continuously working theatre in the English speaking world — today The Duke and Duchess of Sussex toured the recently renovated facility, finding out more about the theatre’s unique history and links to the local community. Their Royal Highnesses also dropped in on a workshop attended by local school children, part of the Old Vic’s outreach programme. #RoyalVisitBristol
The queen could, of course, change up the legislation but having that title isn’t necessarily a boon. There’s an obsession with royals and those with a princely title would be the first to tell you that life as a young prince or princess has serious, sometimes devastating drawbacks.
Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie — daughters of Prince Andrew, Queen Elizabeth’s third child, and Sarah, Duchess of York, better known as Sarah “Fergie” Ferguson — grew up in the limelight. The two were picked to shreds, according to Beatrice. She spoke poignantly last year about their painful childhood experiences at an youth charity event called WE Day:
“I don’t believe that there are many things in life that can make you feel more vulnerable, more helpless, more alone, than being bullied… Growing up in the public eye, means that every embarrassing, slightly awkward growth spurt, or hilarious fashion moment are published around the world,” she said.
On the other hand, the queen’s daughter, Princess Anne, chose a relatively limelight- and title-free life for her children, Peter and Zara Phillips. Yes, you’ve seen them out and about. But they’ve been able to live predominantly private lives outside the confines of the monarchy and the media’s reach.
So what will the Duke and Duchess of Sussex want for their family? Meghan’s not afraid to buck trends, and Harry has never been a fan of the press, especially after the death of his mother, Princess Diana, when he was only 12. Plus he’s been livid at the racist trolling of his new wife on royal social media accounts, often breaking protocol to issue official statements from Kensington Palace.
Above all, Meghan and Harry value their privacy. And with talk of the couple contemplating an American school and seeking a normal and peaceful upbringing for their child, it wouldn’t be shocking if Baby Sussex grows up without a princely title at all.
Whatever their decision, they don’t have much longer before they share it with the world.