LONDON — Did somebody say “royal baby”?
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, has given birth to a baby boy, Buckingham Palace announced on Monday. In a statement, the palace said that the Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, was by her side. The name of the newest royal baby is set to be announced later this week.
Meghan married Prince Harry in a fairy-tale wedding in May last year. Since then, royal watchers around the world have followed their journey as a married couple. When the pregnancy was announced in October last year, people had a lot of questions:
Will the baby assume the title of prince or princess? Will the child ever occupy the British throne? What will they call their little bundle of joy?
Let’s take a look.
Will the baby assume the title of prince or princess?
The answer is no. Meghan and Harry’s children will assume the title of lord or lady, not prince or princess. They can thank King George V for that. Back in 1917, William and Harry’s great-great-grandfather decided to limit the titles of members of the royal family, stating:
“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 that as Meghan and Harry’s child will be a great-grandchild of the sovereign (at least until Charles inherits the throne) he or she will be placed too far down the line of succession to rightfully assume the title of prince or princess. It is believed that any children of the duke and duchess of Sussex will be known as Lord or Lady Mountbatten-Windsor, unless the queen steps in to change that.
In 2015, the queen opted to make Prince George a prince and went on to do so with his younger siblings, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. “The queen might well intervene in this case,” royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams said.
There’s also speculation that Meghan and Harry may prefer that their children do not adopt the title of HRH in the hope that they will lead a more normal life out of the intense royal spotlight.
Will Meghan and Harry’s child ever occupy the British throne?
Gender no longer plays a factor in determining who is next in the line of succession. Male bias was removed in the Succession to the Crown Act, which was passed in 2013. Nowadays, the order in which members take the throne is based on age.
As of today, the line of succession to the British throne looks like this:
Next in line behind his mother, reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth II, is Prince Charles, followed by his eldest son, Prince William. After Prince William are his three children: Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. Behind Prince Louis is his uncle, Prince Harry, at No. 6.
Today’s announcement puts Harry and Meghan’s baby in seventh place, which makes it highly unlikely but not impossible for their child to one day be king.
In eighth, ninth and 10th place are the queen’s second son, Prince Andrew, and his two daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.
What will the baby’s name be?
Your guess is as good as ours.
Meghan and Harry are well known for their ability to shake up the somewhat stale traditions of the royal family. As Harry is not directly in line to the throne, it’s often thought that he has more freedom to stray from royal norms when it comes to living his life. In their wedding earlier this year, the couple followed some but also jettisoned some age-old traditions — and were widely praised for doing so.
Some think the couple will opt for a nontraditional name, in keeping with their progressive and forward-thinking attitudes. Speculation about the name of the newest royal is already in full flow in Britain, with bookmakers listing Boris Thor and Albert as possible options.