01 November 2016

Princess Meghan? FAQs about Prince Harry's Future Wife

UPDATE: On November 27, 2018, Clarence House announced the engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Details for a spring wedding will follow in time. View my post, An American Princess for Harry.

ORIGINAL POST: Meghan Markle has already reached fever pitch. The speculation is everywhere. However, you will not find it here. It is (and will be) difficult enough for Prince Harry to find a soulmate with the extremely high level of media and public attention he attracts, without every glance or tweet being endlessly analyzed.

Despite the fact that Ms. Markle's career as an actress and model has already placed her in the category of a "public person," I believe both she and the prince (regardless of their relationship status) are still entitled to a private life. So, I do not plan to mention her again on this blog, unless and until their relationship is officially confirmed through her appearance with him at an official public event or announcement.

Having said that, people frequently request that I write about Prince Harry. Although this is a blog about princesses, this seems an appropriate moment to answer some FAQs about the person Harry eventually marries.

Will she be a princess?
Yes and no. As the wife of a prince, she will have the status of a princess. However, it is likely that Harry will receive a territorial title as a Duke or possibly an Earl, so his wife would not be officially styled as Princess Harry (his name not hers since she is unlikely to have been born a royal princess herself--most of those ladies are already married.) Instead, she would be called HRH The Duchess (or Countess) of Wherever.

The Lady Louise Windsor should be
Princess Louise of Wessex under the
1917 Letters Patent.
By John Pannell via Wikimedia Commons
Will her children be royal?
Currently, the answer is "maybe later." Under the 1917 Letters Patent, the great grandchildren of a monarch are not given royal titles and styles, with the exception of the first son of the first son's son. In this case, Prince George was entitled to be royal, but not his siblings or his cousins. However, a special exception was announced for the children of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. A similar exception could be made for Harry's offspring. Otherwise, they would not get royal status until their grandfather, Prince Charles, becomes king. On the other hand the Royal Family in the last 20 years has been a bit dicey about following these title protocols, so things could be different. After all, it was determined that the children of Harry's uncle Prince Andrew would be royal princesses but now their status may be under scrutiny, while his uncle Prince Edward's children have been styled as the children of an earl, not as royals. So, we shall see.

Where will they marry?
Although Westminster Abbey is the most common royal wedding spot, Prince Edward married at St. George's Chapel at Windsor. Harry could choose an even less "public" spot near one of the other family homes, perhaps in Sandringham, Scotland, or near his father's main base at Highgrove.

Will she be like Diana?
Harry will undoubtedly seek to honor his late mother in some way but as you know, he cannot give Diana's engagement ring away because it has already been given to Prince William's wife. Whatever he chooses to do, he will almost certainly share that information. His future wife will almost certainly share many of Diana's interests, as Harry embraces so many of her charitable causes.

Beatrice and Eugenie of York are royals and private subjects. 

By Carfax2 via Wikimedia Commons
Will she be able to work?
So far, the royal family has not had a very good track record of commercial careers. The Countess of Wessex tried to maintain her public relations firm for a while after her marriage but had to surrender it after allegations that she was using her royal connections unfairly. Likewise, Sarah Duchess of York received similar criticism for her forays into a career as a royal historian. At this point, the balance between official royal engagements and private career are being played out in real time because of the questions regarding Harry's cousins Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie. (Read my post about their futures.) Career or not will be a difficult choice and the initial decision for Harry's future wife may not be the final decision.

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