Royal watchers are, unquestionably, watching the newly minted Duke and Duchess of Sussex — Prince Harry and Meghan Markle — intently, and for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, according to a new report from People Magazine, any future daughters that the duo will have will not be bestowed with any royal titles.
The outlet is reporting that the titles that they currently have can be passed on to any male children they have — meaning that their sons will be princes or dukes — but their female children will not be princesses or duchesses.
If Prince Harry and Meghan Markle don’t have any male heirs, the title “Duke of Sussex” will die out, according to the report. This development doesn’t seem to affect the duchess either way, as on her official About page for the British royal family, she touts her “feminist” credentials, implying that she doesn’t necessarily care if her daughters are considered royalty.
Part of the reason that their daughters have no royal claim is due to antiquated laws that are currently in place, which several royals have been working on changing.
Specifically, The Daughters’ Rights organization in Britain has been working with lawmakers to change their antiquated inheritance laws. The most prominent example of how the current inheritance laws work against daughters has to do with the case of Lord Baron Braybrooke, who left behind a 6,000-acre estate upon his death. But, none of his eight daughters — including 55-year-old Amanda Murray, who lived and worked on the estate for her entire life — could inherit titles or the property of the estate, and the title went to a distant male cousin of Braybrooke. At the time, too, Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes spoke out about the unfair treatment of women in cases like this.
While he added that the laws of inheritance wouldn’t be straightforward, he said that it was important that royal families and landowners not leave out their girl family members because it put them at an extreme disadvantage.
What’s more, in the case of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, their daughters aren’t allowed to have royal titles because of the recently-changed Succession to the Crown Act 2013, which indicates that birth order — not gender — determines who is next in line to the British throne. At the rate things are going now, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will only ascend the throne if Prince Charles, Prince William, and all of Prince William’s children either die or abdicate their position (Harry is currently sixth in line), meaning that their children are so far removed from the crown that royal titles aren’t likely.