Here's why Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's children might not inherit a title of their own

Here's why Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's children might not inherit a title of their own

Yesterday, fans of the royal family around the world were delighted to hear that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are expecting their first child. In an official announcement on Instagram, Kensington Palace wrote:

"Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Sussex is expecting a baby in the Spring of 2019.

"Their Royal Highnesses have appreciated all of the support they have received from people around the world since their wedding in May and are delighted to be able to share this happy news with the public."

As well as excitement and anticipation, however, the announcement also brought with it a number of questions. What will the new baby be called? How far in line to the throne will they be? And what title will they have?

Well, as it turns out, the new arrival probably won't be a prince or princess. In fact, the little one might not have a royal title at all.

meghan markle prince harry Credit: Getty

As with pretty much everything to do with the British royal family, the process of assigning a title to a new royal baby is entrenched in archaic rules and complicated regulations that must be adhered to.

It's already been established that the new arrival will be too far away in line to the throne (seventh, to be precise) to be named prince or princess - though that could change if the Queen decides to make an exception. If she doesn't, however, then the new baby might not inherit a title by default.

As royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams explained earlier this year: "Under the current system, any child of the Duke and Duchess won’t automatically have a royal title. The peerage, unlike the succession to the crown, favours males and if they have only daughters, the title of Sussex could die out as it did before."

At the moment, though, it is expected that a son of the couple will be given the title, 'Earl of Dumbarton', while a daughter would be known as 'Lady Mountbatten-Windsor'.

It's not entirely unlikely that the Queen won't name her new grandchild a prince or princess, though.

Before Prince George was born, Queen Elizabeth changed the rules so that any child of Prince William's would be a prince or princess. In the past, only the firstborn son would be known as a prince, and, in the event that his first child was a girl, she would have been a Lady.

"This raises an interesting question what Harry and Meghan, who may prove to be unconventional royal parents when they start a family, want for their children," said Fitzwilliams.

Whether or not they get the fancy title to go with their heritage is basically irrelevant, however, as the new heir will be the great-grandchild of the current reigning monarch and, eventually, will be a cousin to the king when it comes time for George to take the throne.

Plus, they'll get to have the adorable Harry and Meghan as their parents - and, really, what more could a kid ask for?