In April 2011, Kate Middleton walked into Westminster Abbey and walked out as the Duchess of Cambridge.
While many would presume that Meghan would take on the title of Princess having married a Prince, this is not the case.
Meghan will not be addressed as Princess Meghan – an honour reserved for women, like Princess Charlotte, born into the Royal Family. A possible title for Meghan would be HRH Princess Henry of Wales.
It is likely that the couple will, like Kate and William, be awarded a dukedom by the Monarch on the occasion of their wedding, with Vogue reporting that the newlyweds will become the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
It is likely that the Queen will grant the couple a dukedom and Sussex is a likely title for the pair having not been in the royal family since 1843.
Meghan’s status as a divorcee also throws a potential hurdle (she divorced producer Trevor Engelson in 2013) but there’s precedent for royals marrying divorcées, with both Prince Charles and his wife Camilla Parker Bowles divorced before they tied the knot in 2005.
Under the British Monarchy, the Prince or Princess title is only given to those who are born into royalty, meaning that if Meghan and Harry were to have children they would be referred to as princes and princesses.
The same went for Kate and William at their wedding six years ago with Wills adding Duke to his own title after the Queen granted the couple with a ‘dukedom’.
Kate is only bestowed the royal title in reference to her husband known as Princess William, and once he inherits his father’s title she can then be referred to as Princess of Wales.
The same goes for Meghan and Harry. The 36-year-old US actress may be referred to as HRH Princess Henry.
It is likely that the couple will too be awarded a dukedom by the Monarch on the occasion of their wedding with Vogue reporting that the newlyweds will become the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
The magazine reports that the county of Sussex has not been filled since 1843, making it a strong candidate for the couples new title.
Prince Harry is currently fifth in line to the throne and will move down to sixth when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcome their third baby, expected to arrive in April.
However, while marrying Harry will give Meghan a royal title she will not join the line of succession.
Marriage to a royal does not put you in line to the throne and you are in only if you have succession rights in your own right.
For example, Prince Philip is in Line of the Succession in his own right, as descendant of Queen Victoria.
WHAT TITLES WILL THEIR CHILDREN BE GIVEN?
Any children born to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be a lord or lady, not a prince or princess – unless the Queen steps in.
Titles within the royal family were limited by Harry’s great-great-grandfather King George V, who issued a Letters Patent in 1917.
It 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.’
This means Harry and Meghan’s children, should they have any while Elizabeth II is on the throne, will not be HRHs or princes or princesses, but will be known instead as Lord or Lady (forename) Mountbatten-Windsor.
However, the Queen could issue a new Letters Patent to change this – just as she did for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s children.
George was always entitled to be HRH Prince George of Cambridge as the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales. But HRH Princess Charlotte of Cambridge would have been Lady Charlotte Mounbatten-Windsor.
In December 2012, when Kate was around three months pregnant, the Queen issued a Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the Realm declaring ‘all the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales should have and enjoy the style, title and attribute of royal highness with the titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their Christian names or with such other titles of honour’.
A Letters Patent was granted in 1948 just before the Prince of Wales’s birth because the 1917 decree excluded Princess Elizabeth’s children from taking a royal style and title.
The Princess Royal’s children, Peter and Zara Phillips, who do not hold titles, were Master and Miss Phillips when they were born. They were not entitled to be HRHs under the 1917 decree as they were born down the female line.
The Earl and Countess of Wessex’s children, Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor and Viscount Severn, are actually entitled to be a princess and prince as children of the son of the Sovereign.
But Edward and Sophie decided, with the Queen’s agreement, that their children would use the courtesy titles of sons or daughters of an earl rather than the style prince or princess.