Baby Sussex is a history-maker, and they aren’t even here yet! Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s baby will be the first bi-racial royal child since perhaps Queen Charlotte’s children in the 1800s and could also be the first female duke. But here’s another way the baby could make history: Baby Sussex may be the first royal to ever have dual UK-American citizenship.
After Meghan and Harry’s engagement announcement, Kensington Palace said Meghan would apply for UK citizenship. The process takes a few years and will also likely require Meghan to pass a citizenship test, according to Good Morning America. She also still holds her US citizenship, though it is not known whether she will renounce it after becoming a UK citizen.
Meghan will still be an American citizen when Baby Sussex enters the world. So will that automatically make Baby Sussex a dual American and UK citizen? Experts seem to be divided.
Immigration lawyer Joe Kirkwood told Maclean’s the child will be “born an American,” is “a citizen by birth, by law” and there is no elective process for Harry and Meghan. “There is no need to naturalize [the child],” Joe told the magazine. He also says if Baby Sussex grows up with political aspirations and decides to run for US office, America could one day end up with a president who is also a British royal!
But others aren’t sure if Baby Sussex will be a US citizen when they are born. “From what I understand, Harry and Meghan will have to acquire documentation for their child to prove US citizenship and it’s not clear if they will do that but of course the option is there,” ABC News’s royal contributor Victoria Murphy told the outlet.
But are the rules for someone born in the UK to acquire US citizenship? The American embassy in the UK says any child born outside the US to a parent who is American and another who is not is eligible for American citizenship upon their birth. The American parent must have been in the US for a period of five years – two of which have to be after age 14 – and must be the biological mother or father.
Baby Sussex wouldn’t be the first ever royal with any dual citizenship, though. Canada’s Autumn Phillips, who married Princess Anne’s son Peter Phillips in 2008, has two children with him – Savannah, 8, and Isla, 7. Autumn retained her Canadian citizenship when marrying Peter so he could keep his place in the line of succession, and both their children have Canadian and UK citizenship. When Savannah was born, she became the first Canadian citizen to be included in the line of succession. She’s currently 15th line to the throne.