On May 19, American actress Meghan Markle lived out every little girl’s princess dreams in real life. She walked down the aisle to wed her charming prince, Prince Harry, and married into the British royal family. Surrounded by close friends, family and millions of adoring onlookers near and far, it looked just like a fairytale.
Now a member of the House of Windsor by marriage, Markle is indeed a princess. However, her new title is not “Princess Meghan” and it is not correct to address her as such. Now, her official title is Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex.
The morning of their wedding, Kensington Palace announced the couple’s new titles. “The Queen has today been pleased to confer a Dukedom on Prince Henry of Wales. His titles will be Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton and Baron Kilkeel,” reads the statement. “Prince Harry thus becomes His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex, and Ms. Meghan Markle on marriage will become Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex.”
Queen Elizabeth bestowed the Dukedom upon the newlyweds as she had done with Prince William and Kate Middleton for their wedding. Royal historians expected the gift. They also accurately predicted Sussex.
“Most likely, he will be created a Duke. Sussex is available so [Markle] would be HRH the Duchess of Sussex,” royal historian Marlene Koenig told Royal Central in late 2016. “Her rank would be a princess by marriage of the United Kingdom, Great Britain, and Northern Ireland.”
Without the Queen’s Dukedom gift, Meghan would have been known as Her Royal Highness Princess Henry of Wales. According to the customs of British peerage, a woman takes the title of her husband. So, she is a princess, but because she’s not a British princess by blood, she isn’t referred to as “Princess Meghan.”
Though it’s unlikely to happen for these newlyweds, titles can change — even years after the wedding day. For example, Queen Elizabeth II officially named her husband, Philip, a British Prince 10 years after their marriage.
It’s worth noting that Philip is not King. True to royal tradition, men who are married to the British monarch are known as prince consorts. The title of Queen can be symbolic, but Kings always reign.
Even though Markle’s title isn’t Princess Meghan, her new royal life will certainly resemble the princess dream come true!