Meghan’s Baby Will Be Earl Of Dumbarton – Or Lady X – Not A Prince Or Princess


As we’ve pointed out before the upcoming baby from Meghan Markle and Prince Harry – or, to be more precise, from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – will not be a prince or princess. That’s a title that only reaches down the generations as far as the grandchildren of a monarch regnant. So, the grandchildren of Queen Elizabeth II are indeed princes and princesses. Or at least can be, if that’s what their parents wish them to be. Harry and Wills are, Peter Philips and Zara Tindall are not as that’s what Anne and Foggy wanted. Princess Michael of Kent is indeed such as she’s married to a grandchild of George V.

The new young Sussex will be a great grandchild of a Queen regnant and this won’t be a prince or princess. They will, however, have a title:

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will welcome their first child in spring 2019 – but what does that mean for the royal family tree? Harry – once third in line to the throne – and Meghan revealed their happy news to the Royal family in October at the wedding of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank at Windsor Castle, where the duke and duchess were also married earlier in the year.

The title doesn’t quite follow that in line to the throne bit. It’s entirely possible, given male line succession, for a princess to be further away than a non-prince. James, Viscount Severn, is higher in line than Princess Anne is, for example. Not that we’re likely to get out to 13th and 14th in line anyway. But to new title:

The low-key plans in part reflect the status of Baby Sussex, who will be seventh in line to the throne. He or she will not have an automatic HRH title, being known as the Earl of Dumbarton if a boy, and Lady [firstname] Mountbatten-Windsor if a girl. George, Charlotte and Louis, the baby’s cousins, were all confirmed as being a Prince or Princess before birth thanks to a Letters Patent issued by the Queen in December 2012, seven months before the arrival the first Cambridge child. No such declaration has yet been made with respect to the Sussex’s baby.

That can, of course, be changed. But the title will reflect the status of child of a Duke, not of a Prince. Great grandchild of monarch regnant, see? And the rules change again when – if – Charles becomes King, but not if it skips to Will.

This system isn’t all that easy, agreed, but it does provide for rather fine gradations of rank:

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.

And that’s before we get to orders of precedence among 21 different types of knighthood and all the rest….

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Michael Jennings
Michael Jennings

In the pedantry department, the children of the monarch automatically become princes and princesses, and the children of sons of the monarch become princes and princesses, but the children of daughters of the monarch do not. So the children of Charles, Andrew, and Edward automatically became princes and princesses, but the children of Anne did not. The Queen could have made Peter and Zara prince and princess by letters patent, but she didn’t. Prince Edward’s children technically are a prince and princess, but their parents decided not to use those titles, and they instead go by the titles due to… Read more »