When Meghan Markle marries Prince Harry at St. George’s Chapel on May, 19, she will officially become a member of the royal family. And just like her sister-in-law, Kate Middleton, before her, she will likely be given a royal title on the day of her nuptials.
When Kate married Prince William on April 29, 2011, she received the title of Duchess of Cambridge to go along with the dukedom William was granted by Queen Elizabeth. It’s expected that Harry and Meghan will acquire titles in a similar manner at some point in their ceremony. However, exactly what those titles will be is still up in the air.
Here are a few royal titles that could go in front of Meghan Markle’s name after the royal wedding.
What is Prince Harry’s last name?
Before we talk about Meghan, let’s first get to the bottom of what exactly Prince Harry’s last name is.
Henry Charles Albert David, familiarly known as Prince Harry, was born to Charles, Prince of Wales, and Diana, Princess of Wales, on Sept. 15, 1984. Harry was born into the House of Windsor and his last name is technically Mountbatten-Windsor—as is the case for all royals who are descended from Queen Elizabeth II through the male line.
However, last names are typically only used by members of the royal family without titles, meaning Mountbatten-Windsor is pretty much never tacked onto Harry’s name.
During his time at school and in the military, Prince Harry was known simply as Harry Wales, a surname that derived from his father’s official title. Today, he is typically referred to as Prince Harry, or more formally, His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales.
What will Meghan Markle’s title be after she marries Prince Harry?
Meghan Markle’s marriage to Prince Harry will not make her a princess, as only women that are born into the royal family, like Princess Charlotte, hold that title. Instead, Meghan will become a duchess if Harry, as is tradition, is granted a dukedom on their wedding day. It’s speculated that the vacant Dukedom of Sussex has been reserved for Harry. In that case, that means Meghan’s official title will be Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Sussex.
However, despite the fact that Meghan will never be a princess in her own right, she may still be referred to by the royal title in reference to her husband, i.e., HRH Princess Henry of Wales.
What will Meghan Markle’s last name be?
When Meghan Markle marries Prince Harry, her last name can become Mountbatten-Windsor. However, considering royals tend to be known only by their first names, it’s not likely you’ll see her addressed by that name very often.
Just as Kate Middleton is mainly referred to by her maiden name or the title she was given by Queen Elizabeth at her wedding to Prince William, Duchess of Cambridge, Markle will likely only add Duchess of Sussex—the dukedom Prince Harry is expected to be granted—to her current moniker.
What will Prince Harry’s title be after the royal wedding?
Just like Prince William was given the title of Duke of Cambridge on his wedding day, it’s expected that Queen Elizabeth will also bestow a dukedom on Prince Harry to commemorate his nuptials. Specifically, it’s anticipated that Harry will be granted the Dukedom of Sussex, making his official title His Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex. He will also retain the title of Prince Henry of Wales.
What title will Prince Harry’s children have?
However, if Harry and Meghan have children, they will not be princes and princesses like William and Kate’s children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. Unless Queen Elizabeth issues a Letters Patent declaring otherwise, Harry and Meghan’s children will be lords and ladies.
This is due to a 1917 Letters Patent issued by King George V, that limited the titles of a sovereign’s grandchildren. It read as follows: “…the grandchildren of the sons of any such Sovereign in the direct male line (save only the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales) shall have and enjoy in all occasions the style and title enjoyed by the children of Dukes of these Our Realms.”
Basically, Prince William’s oldest son, Prince George, was the only grandchild that was ever guaranteed the title of prince. However, when Kate was pregnant with Charlotte, the Queen issued a new Letters Patent stating that all of the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales would receive the title of prince or princess.
She could very well do the same for Harry and Meghan’s children.
Why doesn’t the royal family use a last name?
The royal family’s naming practice may seem complicated, but the reason behind it is relatively simple: The royals are typically so well known that they don’t need a last name to be recognized.
“Members of the Royal Family can be known both by the name of the Royal house, and by a surname, which are not always the same,” the official royal website reads. “And often they do not use a surname at all.”
What do we call Kate Middleton?
Kate Middleton officially became Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge when Prince William was granted the Dukedom of Cambridge on their wedding day. She can also be referred to as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and HRH Princess William of Wales, as well as the more casual Catherine Cambridge or Catherine Mountbatten-Windsor.
In addition, William and Kate hold the titles of Earl and Countess of Strathearn in Scotland and Baron and Baroness of Carrickfergus in Ireland.