The New Royal Baby: What This Means For Meghan Markle, Prince Harry & The Royal Family
What does having a new royal baby mean for the throne?
To many, April means Avengers: Endgame, the final season of Game Of Thrones, the peak of summer…but to those who follow the royal family like they’re in the line of succession (read: me), this month also means the new royal baby.
In full disclosure, no one really knows when Meghan Markle is going to give birth; April is simply the most intelligent guess there is. Meghan and Prince Harry made the announcement that they were expecting last October; at which she had already had her 12-week scan. If you do the math, you’ll land on April.
The line of succession
With Harry’s family extending directly beneath him, there will be changes made to the line of royal succession—to an extent. As the first born of Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles is still first in line. After him is Prince William, who is likewise followed by his children in birth order: Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.
And this is where things sort of shake up. Currently, Prince Harry is 6th in line to the British throne and will remain so unless William and Kate Middleton decide to expand their family once again. Nevertheless, this means that Harry and Meghan’s child will be 7th in line once he or she is born, pushing down Prince Andrew (the Queen’s second son) to 8th.
The controversy of raising a royal
There’s been a lot of talk about how Meghan plans to raise her child—in stark comparison to what Kate has done thus far with her three kids. The most recent headline of which is probably the way Meghan wants to announce the birth. That is, after she and Harry have privately celebrated the same. In case anyone needs a reminder, Kate’s opted for the more traditional pose-outside-the-hospital-looking-like-she-didn’t-just-give-birth way.
There’s obviously no way to tell at this point, but many have assumed that this means Meghan’s journey through motherhood will be more relaxed (or more normal and more relatable). Was that right? A royal, raising a child like a commoner would? Great.
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Just one week ago, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex asked that you kindly consider supporting various organisations around the world in lieu of sending gifts for the upcoming arrival of their first born. Not only did many of you lend your support, you took action. Their Royal Highnesses wanted you to know the impact of your support – the direct effect your donation, energy, and action made! YOU chose to be part of the collective good, and you have made a real difference. Whether a $5 donation, £1000 contribution, offering to volunteer, or spreading the word – you’ve played your part. And on behalf of The Duke and Duchess (and Baby Sussex), we thank you so much. YOUR IMPACT: @thelunchboxfund will now be able to provide a minimum of 100,000 additional hot nutritionally fortified meals to children in dire need across South Africa @littlevillagehq received donations from all over the world (from UAE to Hong Kong and the US), they’ve increased their monthly donors, had a surge in volunteer applications, and re-energized their hard working team of 200+ staff and volunteers @wellchild can now provide 300+ additional hours of specialist care by a Well Child Nurse for a child with serious health needs, allowing families to stay together at home vs in hospital @Baby2Baby have received over 5,000 products to disperse to children in need, including cribs, books, backpacks, diapers and have received monetary donations from around the globe – from Guadalajara to Italy. You made this happen. Thank you.
But what we need to remember is that Meghan and Harry will undoubtedly have more flexibility when it comes to raising their own brood. In all likelihood, Kate doesn’t have as much wiggle room when it comes to how her children are brought up. She isn’t the only one responsible for Prince George’s upbringing, after all; some part of him does belong to the throne.
If we look back at history, the stringent rules have tended to become more flexible when the likelihood of ruling becomes less sure. We saw this happen with Prince Margaret almost as soon as Queen Elizabeth birthed the next royal ruler. And besides, when was the last time that a seventh-in-line was actually crowned? That far down the line of succession, Queen Elizabeth doesn’t even have a say in who marries into the family anymore.
So when are we seeing the baby?
As earlier mentioned, the public won’t see the new baby until days after his or her birth. A statement from the palace noted that, “The Duke and Duchess look forward to sharing the exciting news with everyone once they have had an opportunity to celebrate privately as a new family.”
So the answer is that no one really knows.
What’s in a name?
So, of course we don’t know what the royal baby’s name will be just yet—but there are some hard bets on Elizabeth should it be a girl. For obvious reasons, yes, but also it’s possible that Meghan will give birth on the Queen’s birthday: April 21.
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The Queen's engagements in The Royal Diary: 18th April: The Queen will attend this year’s Maundy Thursday service at St George’s Chapel, where she will give commemorative coins, known as Maundy Money, to 93 men and 93 women in recognition for their contribution to community and to the church. 21st April: The Queen and other members of The Royal Family will attend the annual Easter Sunday service at St George's Chapel. This year, the day is even more special for Her Majesty, as it falls on her 93rd birthday. 3rd May: The Queen will be present at a Service of the Royal Victorian Order at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. Afterwards, Her Majesty will give a Reception for those attending the Service. 7th May: The Queen will give a luncheon for Members of the Order of Merit. 15th – 21st – 29th May: The Queen will give three Garden Parties at Buckingham Palace. 20th May: The Queen will visit the Chelsea Flower Show at the Royal Hospital Chelsea. 8th June: The Queen will take the Salute at the Birthday Parade on Horse Guards, Whitehall, London. Afterwards Her Majesty will witness a Fly-past by the Royal Air Force from the Balcony at Buckingham Palace. 17th June: The Queen will attend a Service for the Order of the Garter at St. George's Chapel. 29th June: The Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Rothesay, will address the Scottish Parliament as part of its 20th anniversary celebrations. 3rd July: The Queen will give a Garden Party at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. 9th July: The Queen will visit Cambridgeshire.
Maybe the more interesting question is what title will be given. According to King George’s V’s 1917 decree, only the eldest son of the Prince of Wale’s oldest son (that’s Prince George) is entitled to His Royal Highness (and therefore “Prince”). But since Queen Elizabeth issued a new Letters Patent in 2012 that declared all of William and Kate’s children would hold the title of HRH, we have Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.
The Letters Patent, however, does not apply to Harry and Meghan’s family line. So unless the Queen steps in and formally announces something for Baby Sussex, his (or her) title will be styled as Earl (or Lady) of Dumbarton. And even if his/her grandmother were to grant HRH status, Harry and Meghan have the option to politely decline the same—after all, talks are saying they want to give him/her as normal a life as possible.
Everything is slightly up in the air at this point, especially because Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have opted to remain mum about specific plans. But we do know that the introduction of their baby—and their modern stands and open outlooks—will mean changes for the royal family.
These changes may or may not have a direct impact on the way things are still ruled and overseen, but we’ll let them come as they may.
Art Alexandra Lara