Much to the delight of royal watchers, the first baby Sussex is on the way, set to join the royal fold in April. Prince Harry and Meghan announced the exciting pregnancy news on Oct. 15 in a statement from Kensington Palace, saying that the duke and duchess “have appreciated all of the support they have received from people around the world since their wedding in May and are delighted to be able to share this happy news with the public." Since then, fans have wondered where their child will fall in the line of succession to the throne – and it’s lucky number seven!
Their baby will follow behind Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis and, finally, his or her father Prince Harry. Veering from tradition from the early royal rules, the arrival of baby Charlotte, 3, marked the very first time the Succession of the Crown Act of 2013 has come into play. This means that even if Meghan, 37, and Harry, 34, welcome an adorable baby girl, she will still hold the same spot in the line of succession as a son would. The rule enacted five years ago means there is no longer a precedent for boys to outrank their sisters, removing gender from the equation entirely.
Just as Princess Charlotte’s birth changed royal history, so too will Prince Harry and Meghan’s child, who will become the first-ever biracial person in line to the throne, as well as the first American baby positioned so close to it. It’s a very exciting time for the Royal Family, whose age-old rules and regulations have been quickly adapting to suit the modern times.
As for the little one’s title, there’s plenty of history at play here too. King George V limited titles within the Royal Family back in 1917, which means the duke and duchess’s little one will fall too far down the line to be a Prince or Princess. Her Majesty could overrule the verdict, as she has graciously done for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s two younger children, but that remains to be seen.
The reason Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis both have official titles is because the Queen stepped in to change the law, issuing Letters Patent (a document issued by a monarch or government) to Prince William and Kate, their parents, which read: “…all the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales should have and enjoy the style, title and attribute of royal highness with the titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their Christian names or with such other titles of honour.”
Also, just because the upcoming royal baby’s parents are a duke and duchess does not mean they with automatically be granted a title. Peoplehas reported dukedoms can only be inherited by men, and a duchess title is not hereditary, but rather can only be inherited through marriage, meaning Meghan will not pass down her title to a daughter. Instead, the Queen’s great-grandchildren – aside from future king Prince George – are given the title of Lady or Lord, according to The Independent, much like Lady Amelia Windsor.