One of the questions being asked about the impending royal wedding on the horizon is about Meghan Markle’s last name. Kensington Palace has not confirmed what name Markle will use after she is married to Prince Harry, but she has a few options according to the official rules put in place during the reign of Harry’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth.
Meghan, whose name is actually Rachel Meghan Markle, will have the option of using the name “Rachel Meghan Mountbatten-Windsor” which is the surname for all of the offspring of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip and their children, royal historian Carolyn Harris told Town & Country.
“Junior members of the royal family have the option of using the surname.”
When Queen Elizabeth took the throne, she changed the royal last name from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha due to anti-German sentiment to the Anglo-sounding Windsor. In 1960 it was decided that her children with Prince Philip would add the last name Mountbatten (Philip took that last name from his uncle, Louis Mountbatten, who anglicized part of his former last name of the German Battenberg).
That said, royals rarely use a surname, but they have that option for school use and documentation.
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Royal expert Marlene Koenig says that once Meghan Markle marries Prince Harry, she will simply be known as Meghan.
“Once married, Meghan will sign as Meghan, no last name. Just as Harry signs as Harry. Royals use only a first name.”
But Koenig says that many royals do use Mountbatten-Windsor.
“This was used by Anne, Andrew, and Edward when they married. Charles had no surname on his registrar. We do not know what William used because unlike every other royal, he chose not to make it public.”
When William and Harry attended school, they used the last name “Wales” which was their father Prince Charles’ title.
Bearing The Queen's signature, the Instrument of Consent records Her Majesty's consent to the Marriage of Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle. #RoyalWedding
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) May 13, 2018
Time says the queen is expected to bestow the titles of “Duke and Duchess of Sussex” on the couple as a sort of wedding gift, so Markle could publicly opt to use the name Meghan Sussex. When Kate Middleton married Prince William, she was also given the name “Princess William of Wales,” but it’s unclear if Markle will have the option of “Princess Harry of Wales.”
But like Prince William and Kate Middleton, who received the titles of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their wedding day, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will also get titles for Ireland and Scotland. William and Kate have the Scottish title of Earl and Countess of Strathearn and Baron and Baroness of Carrickfergus in Ireland. There has been no announcement thus far what titles Meghan and Harry will receive for Scotland and Ireland, but it must be one which isn’t already in use.
It is also possible that Meghan Markle will not relinquish her last name, and will keep her name as is.