The royal family has hundreds of years of high traditions and rules, some more peculiar than others. One such rule is that Prince William and wife Kate Middleton do not have full custody of their three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis. According to Bristol Live, there is a unique agreement with the Queen that states that she has full custody of all minor royals.
Marlene Koenig, an expert on the royal family, is cited by The Sun in order to explain the rule.
“Legislation passed during the reign of George I. It was known as The Grand Opinion for the Prerogative Concerning the Royal Family and it was about the King’s control over the education, the raising and the marriage of his grandchildren. He did it because he had a very poor relationship with his son, the future King George II, so they had this law passed that meant the King was the guardian of his grandchildren.”
The law, which will affect Prince Harry and Meghan Markle if they decide to have children, dates back to 1717. It was a time when the monarchy’s power was great and its “right of supervision extended to his grandchildren and this right of right belongs to His Majesty, King of the Realm, even during their father’s lifetime.”
The Queen also had custody of her grandchildren, Prince William and Prince Harry, a fact that became public knowledge after Prince Charles’ divorce with Princess Diana of Wales in 1996. When they divorced, there was no mention of custody concerning Prince William and Prince Harry — even though Prince Charles and Princess Diana had made arrangements for their care. Due to the aforementioned law, Prince Charles and Princess Diana had to get special permission from the queen before doing anything with the children, including taking them on vacation.
According to The Sun, Koenig said that when Prince Harry was a baby, Prince Charles had to ask the queen for permission to take the family on a trip to Scotland. The queen approved the request, but as Prince William got older, he often traveled separately from his parents. The ruling also kept Princess Diana from flying with her children to Australia in one of the family’s last trips before her death. After their separation, Koenig says, Prince Charles and Princess Diana only saw their sons for 40 days a year.
The same rules apply today, though Koenig says the Queen is respectful of Prince William and Kate’s desires for their children and makes no attempt to subvert their views. As Koenig says, the law is a formality at this point, as the queen has a better relationship with her son and grandsons than King George I had with his.