Royals

Why Meghan Markle won't be called Princess Meghan after she marries Prince Harry

She's certainly regal - but she won't officially be a Princess.

By Emma Land

When Suits actress Meghan Markle said yes to Prince Harry's proposal of marriage, she accepted everything that comes with marrying into the royal family.

She will be the wife of the sixth in line to the British throne. She will give up her career to focus on her royal duties. She will even wear a tiara. But, it seems, the official title of Princess is not a given. Why? Put simply, because she's not of 'royal blood.'

Instead, the newlyweds will be known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle face the press after announcing their engagement.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle face the press after announcing their engagement.

Here's where it gets confusing. Harry's mother, Diana was called the Princess of Wales because she married the Prince of Wales. But contrary to popular belief she was never officially Princess Diana. She had royal ancestry, but only those born into the royal family can be called Prince or Princess, followed by their first name.

It's the same reason Kate Middleton didn't inherit the title of Princess - because, as the British press were at pains to point out, she's a 'commoner.' She instead took the title of the Duchess of Cambridge.

William and Kate's 2011 wedding was watched by an estimated 2 billion people worldwide.
William and Kate's 2011 wedding was watched by an estimated 2 billion people worldwide.

The royal family hasn't had an American marry into 'the firm' since King Edward VIII famously wed divorcee Wallace Simpson. His decision to choose love over duty led to him abdicating the throne, forcing his brother, the Queen's father, to take over. It was a crisis that had far reaching ramifications.

King Edward VIII became the first British king to abdicate the throne after his decision to marry American divorcee Wallace Simpson.
King Edward VIII became the first British king to abdicate the throne after his decision to marry American divorcee Wallace Simpson.

Viewers of the hit Netflix show The Crown will be familiar with the messy situation surrounding Princess Margaret's relationship with Group Captain Peter Townsend.

The then 22-year old Margaret fell in love with her father's equerry, 16 years her senior. But they were unable to marry unless Margaret gave up her royal title. The Church of England and the Government forbade it because he was divorced and his wife was still living. It was the same decision her uncle Edward had faced.

Group Captain Peter Townsend and Princess Margaret
Group Captain Peter Townsend and Princess Margaret

The Queen was left with an impossible decision, having to choose between wanting to keep her sister happy and doing what she thought was best for the Monarchy. In the end, she chose the Monarchy, and so too did Margaret.

But times have changed. The Queen allowed Prince Charles to marry divorcee Camilla Parker Bowles. Meghan herself is divorced, having ended her two year marriage to film producer Trevor Engelson in 2013.

Prince Charles and Camilla share a laugh during their 2015 visit to New Zealand.
Prince Charles and Camilla share a laugh during their 2015 visit to New Zealand.

If the stigma of divorce is no longer an issue, is it time for the British Royal Family to relax some of the rules around titles?

The Queen has already done it once. Philip was named the Duke of Edinburgh when he married the then Princess Elizabeth in 1947. But 10 years later, as Queen, she "accorded him the style and title of a Prince of the United Kingdom". He has been known as Prince Philip ever since.

And it's OK for other royal families.

Tasmanian born advertising executive Mary Donaldson married the Crown Prince of Denmark after meeting him in a Sydney bar, becoming Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.

Australian Mary Donaldson met the Crown Prince of Denmark in a Sydney bar during the 2000 Olympics. They were married in 2004.
Australian Mary Donaldson met the Crown Prince of Denmark in a Sydney bar during the 2000 Olympics. They were married in 2004.

And American actress Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier III of Monaco in an event that was dubbed 'The Wedding of the Century.'

Grace Kelly met Prince Ranier of Monaco at a film festival and became Princess Grace when they married in 1956.
Grace Kelly met Prince Ranier of Monaco at a film festival and became Princess Grace when they married in 1956.

So maybe the British Monarchy should look to other royal families around the world when it comes to royal titles. After all, Princess Meghan has a rather nice ring to it.