Why Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Reportedly Won't Have Full Custody of Their Future Children

Chalk it up to an archaic law passed centuries ago

Updated 08/21/18

DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/Getty Images

Since marrying Prince Harry earlier this year, it feels like Meghan Markle has effortlessly slid into the role of duchess. But no matter how suited for royal life she may be, there are bound to be some protocols and traditions that will make her feel uneasy. For instance, when Meghan and Harry eventually decide to become parents, they won’t have full custody of their children, Cosmopolitan reports.

According to royal expert Marlene Koenig, because of a centuries-old law, it’s Queen Elizabeth II who will actually have full custody of her great-grandchildren. The archaic rule dates all the way back to the 1700s, when King George wanted to ensure that he had a relationship with his grandchildren. “He did it because he had a very poor relationship with his son, the future King George II,” Koenig said. “So they had this law passed that meant the King was the guardian of his grandchildren."

The good news is that this is simply a law on paper and not one generally practiced by the monarchy. Though the Queen technically has the legal right to make big decisions concerning how her great-grandchildren are raised, we doubt she’ll intrude. Just ask Prince William and Kate Middleton, who, by the looks of it, have full autonomy when it comes to raising their three children. By our estimation, Queen Elizabeth’s role is relegated to that of a traditional great-grandmother, which we assume means cheek-pinching, candy-giving, and storytelling.

And if Prince Harry and Markle’s recent teases are any indication, the Queen will be pulling double duty with her royal great-grandkids sooner rather than later. In a November BBC interview, Harry said that the couple has the intention of starting a family “in the near future,” while Meghan has said that she “can’t wait to start a family.”

Related Stories