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Meghan’s Baby Won’t Be A Royal Highness But She Will Have A Title

It appears that we’ve got to educate the Americans in how these titles things work again. It could be that it’s just they don’t have any so don’t understand the functioning of these important things, could be just that they’re colonials and thus don’t know any better. But while it’s entirely true, as things stand right now, that Meghan Markle’s upcoming child won’t be a Royal Highness there will still be a title involved. For the babbie’s father is a Duke, therefore there will be a title involved, that’s the way these things work:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] Meghan Markle and Prince Harry‘s baby may not be called Royal Highness — thanks to his or her great-great-grandparent. King George V introduced a rule in 1917 that means their baby will need special permission from the Queen to become an HRH. Only the eldest son of the Queen’s first-born, Prince Charles, is entitled to be an HRH — no younger sons or daughters. [/perfectpullquote]

This ruling was all part of the necessary distinction between true royalty and the European kind. Or more accurately, the minor remains of the lesser German houses. You know, the cousins.

In the British system titles decay over time – or if you prefer, follow the male line exclusively. So, say there’s a Duke. In the fullness of time his son will be a Duke, and his son after him and so on. All of the children of said Duke will have titles too. The daughters will be Lady Mary, Lady Alice and so on. The younger sons will be Lord John Churchill, Lord Randolph Churchill and so on. That’s how Randolph was both a Lord and in the House of Commons, not the Lords, he was the younger son of a Duke. But those titles do not then pass onto the next generation. Lady Mary’s daughter is just plain Jocasta. Lord Randolph Churchill’s was Winston Churchill.

We might confuse if we go on to point out the distinction between Lord Randolph Churchill, Randolph, Lord Churchill, Mary, Lady Churchill and Lady Mary Churchill….even before we get to Dame Margaret, Lady Hodge.

The thing is, in some of those lesser continental systems all the children become count, contessa and so on. And this is even more so in the princely families – of which Germany certainly had a plethora. The Holy Roman Empire had really rather too many of them in fact. And the designation “Prince”, along with Royal Highness and all that, came from simply being the child of someone with the same title. Thus as the generations moved on you could end up with an ever expanding network of those with the title. People 10 generations removed from a ruling monarch might have it!

So, the Brits decided that only up to and including the grandchildren of a reigning Monarch would be “royal” in the sense of having that Prince/Princess title. And a little more restrictive with the HRH. Think how many of the damn things we’d have if all of Victoria’s ggg grandchildren were such?

So, yes, Meghan’s babby won’t, unless the rules are changed, be an HRH. Or even a Prince or Princess. However:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]As it stands, a son will receive the title Duke — and if the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have a daughter next spring, she will not inherit any title.[/perfectpullquote]

No. A son may well inherit, in the fullness of time, that title of Duke. But when born he’ll have a lesser, subsidiary, title. Might be Earl, more likely to be Viscount something. Without looking it up not sure what title does go with Harry’s Dukedom. If there are second and subsequent sons they’ll be “Lord William Windsor” and the like. And any daughter will be Lady Jocasta Windsor or Lazy Condoleezza dependent upon how much American we get in the naming of it. And yes, Lady is indeed a title but she’ll get it because she’s the daughter of a Duke, nothing to do with great granny being Queen nor daddy a Prince.

There could be an interesting change when Charles becomes King of course …..

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Jonathan Harston
Jonathan Harston
5 years ago

I like the Japanese system where upon a change in monarch everything is recalculated from the new monarch and superflous branches trimmed off.

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