Royal titles: The SIX royals whose titles bend the rules of royal protocol

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The issue of royal titles has come to the forefront in recent days following Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s shocking interview with Oprah Winfrey. When Meghan and Harry’s son Archie Harrison was born in 2019, it appeared the couple had decided to forego a royal title in order for their son to have as normal a life as possible. However, in the interview Meghan said she would have liked her son to have a prince title if it “meant he was going to be safe” and provided with security.

Under the terms of the letters patent issued by King George V in 1917, Archie was not entitled to a prince title at the time of his birth.

Only the children and grandchildren of the monarch through the male line are entitled to the title of prince or princess.

The Letters Patent reads: “The children of any Sovereign of these Realms and the children of the sons of any such Sovereign and the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales shall have and at all times hold and enjoy the style, title or attribute of Royal Highness with their titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their respective Christian names or with their other titles of honour’.

While the letters patent set in 1917 dictates Archie was not eligible for a prince title at birth, when Prince Charles is king he may then be eligible for the title.

When Charles is king, Archie will be a grandson of the monarch through the male line, however he is also next in line to take on the title of Duke of Sussex from his father one day.

Although the Queen appears to have stuck to royal protocol with Archie’s title, on several other occasions the monarch appears to have bent the rules when it comes to titles for family members.

Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice

As the grandchildren of the monarch through the male line, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie were both entitled to be given princess titles at birth.

However, it is their use of the HRH style which is very unusual for these two members of the Royal Family.

Both Beatrice and Eugenie are non-working members of the Royal Family, which means they are entitled to attend royal events such as Trooping the Colour, but they do not work officially on behalf of the Queen.

Both princesses have pursued their own careers, with Beatrice working as vice president of a software company while Eugenie works at an art gallery.

Usually, non-working members of the Royal Family do not use their HRH status.

When Meghan Markle and Prince Harry left their senior royal roles behind, it was agreed they would not publicly use their HRH titles.

However, this rule does not appear to apply to Beatrice and Eugenie.

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Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis

Prince William’s daughter Princess Charlotte and his son Prince Louis would not have been entitled to prince and princess titles if it were not for an intervention by the Queen.

Prince George, as the eldest child of Prince William, was given a prince title as he is expected to be king one day.

King George V’s letters patent states the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales is entitled to a prince title.

But the Queen stepped in to make sure all of the Cambridge children had prince or princess titles and HRH status, as one day they will all be the children of the monarch.

The Queen made the intervention prior to the birth of Prince George, to avoid a situation where William and Kate’s first child, should the baby have been born a girl, would hold a lower-ranking title of Lady while a future brother would be known as a prince.

Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn

Prince Edward’s two children, Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn, do not hold prince or princess titles.

However, as the grandchildren of the monarch through the male line, both were entitled to prince and princess titles when they were born.

As Prince Edward is known as the Earl of Wessex, it was decided when Louise and James were born they would be styled as the children of an earl rather than a prince.

Sophie, Countess of Wessex told The Sunday Times last year her children will not work for the Royal Family in an official capacity in the future.

She said: “We try to bring them up with the understanding that they are very likely to have to work for a living.

“Hence we made the decision not to use HRH titles. They have them and can decide to use them from 18, but it’s highly unlikely.”

Although Lady Louise was born before her brother James, she is lower in the line of succession as when she was born, a system of male preference primogeniture was still in place in the British monarchy.

However, alterations have now been made and all future children born into the Royal Family will have their place in the line of succession determined by a system of absolute primogeniture.

This means the line of succession will be dictated by age in the future rather than gender.

You can watch Oprah with Meghan and Harry in full on the ITV hub. 

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