This Is Why Meghan Markle Won’t Technically Be Called a Princess

The complicated, confusing issue of British royal titles—explained.

This-Is-Why-Meghan-Markle-Won’t-Technically-Be-Called-a-Princess_9243868ba_Tim-Rooke-REXTim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s marriage has shaken up the British monarchy in a big way. But royal enthusiasts are less concerned about how the couple has (repeatedly) broken royal protocol—and more interested in the issue of Meghan’s royal title.

Why? When it comes to the protocol of the British monarchy, nothing is more complicated than royal titles. For instance, Princess Charlotte’s future kids won’t get royal titles, but Prince George’s will. But here’s where things get even trickier: While Kate Middleton may one day take the title of “Princess,” in some capacity, Meghan will most likely remain the Duchess of Sussex.

To become a bonafide “princess,” royal protocol dictates that one must either be born the daughter of the sovereign or a prince—or become a prince’s wife, and therefore take his title upon marriage. So, marrying Prince Harry won’t technically make Meghan a true princess. Technically, she holds the title of Princess Henry of Wales, which is derived from her husband—so she is not a princess in her own right, which one can only be born into.

Like Prince William before him, Prince Harry received a royal dukedom from the Queen as a wedding gift. Prince William became The Duke of Cambridge after marrying Kate Middleton, making Kate The Duchess of Cambridge. Royal insiders correctly speculated that Harry, on the other hand, would likely become The Duke of Sussex on his own wedding day. That makes Meghan The Duchess of Sussex. (If you’re confused as to who’s who, this chart explains the entire British royal family tree.)

Complicating matters further, once Prince Charles becomes King of England, Prince William will likely become The Prince of Wales, as the direct heir to the throne, meaning Kate will likely take on the title of The Princess of Wales. Because Harry is currently sixth in line for the throne, he will probably remain a duke.

Royal rules aside, becoming a Duchess is still pretty cool—and we’ll still keep reliving their fairytale ceremony no matter what. Check out these 17 tiny details you probably missed at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding.

[Source: PEOPLE]

Brooke Nelson
Brooke Nelson is a researcher at PBS FRONTLINE in Boston, Massachusetts, and writes regularly about travel, health, and culture news for Reader’s Digest. Previously she was a staff writer at Reader's Digest. Her articles have also appeared on MSN, Business Insider, and Yahoo Finance, among other sites. She earned a BA in international relations from Hendrix College. Follow her on Twitter @BrookeTNelson.