Meghan Markle is an accomplished woman in her own right. She’s the star of TV drama Suits,a thoughtful writer, an activist who’s worked with the UN, and the creator of an affordable fashion line.
Early tabloid articles about the couple were often invasive and sometimes flat-out racist (one said Markle had “exotic DNA”). Eventually Prince Harry was compelled to release a statement that simultaneously confirmed their relationship and condemned the way the media was covering it.
Things have calmed down a bit since then, though paparazzi cameras did capture the couple attending a wedding together in Jamaica.
Now royals fans are wondering whether or not Markle and Prince Harry will get married. And if they do what kind of royal title would Markle receive? Here’s what we know so far.
She would become a princess by marriage.
Harry’s title is currently His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales.” Royal family expert Imogen Lloyd Webber recently told People that Markle would “definitely” be called “Her Royal Highness Princess Henry of Wales.
She wouldn’t be Princess Megan for the same reason that Kate Middleton is not “Princess Kate.” Neither of them was born royal — but became (or could become) royal by marriage.
She’d probably become a duchess, too.
It’s tradition for men of the royal family to get a new title, bestowed by the queen, when they marry. Take William: For most of his life, he was just His Royal Highness Prince William of Wales. But upon his marriage to Kate Middleton in 2011, he became the Duke of Cambridge, and Kate became the Duchess of Cambridge.
Webber suspects that Prince Harry will become the Duke of Sussex upon his eventual marriage, and royal historian Marlene Koenig agrees. That would make Markle the Duchess of Sussex.
The titles Duke and Duchess of Clarence and Buckingham are also available meaning the people who last held them have died and the titles are free to be bestowed by the Queen. The Dukedom of Sussex, for example, has been available since 1843.
It seems like most royals experts and bloggers are putting their money on Sussex, but sadly, there’s no way to know for sure unless a marriage really happens.
What do these titles mean, anyway?
Titles like Duke are part of the Peerage. Essentially, it’s a ranked system for British nobility.
Way back in the day, the monarch bestowed these titles on peers of the realm people who swore loyalty to the crown in exchange for land or money, according to the Peerage experts at Debrett’s London. The five possible titles, ranked from highest to lowest: duke, marquess, earl, viscount, and baron.
In addition to being bestowed, the titles could also be inherited, but only by male heirs.
All the people who had these titles formed the Peerage, and for a long time, the Peerage also had the right to sit in the British Parliament. Seems just slightly unfair — and that’s probably why the British government voted to rescind that right back in 1999, with the House of Lords Act.
Today, these ranked titles still exist, and just as before, they can only be bestowed by the monarch or inherited by a son.
While lots of Peerage titles are held by royals, but you don’t have to be royal to have one. And even though the members of Peerage lack the political power they once had, Debrett’s guide says that their social influence remains undimmed, and their lives remain a source of interest and speculation. We can’t argue with that.