As we cope with the announcement that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are stepping down as senior members of the royal family, questions continue to arise over what this means for the couple. Duty and financial inquiries aside, many folks are asking about the status of their titles and monikers. Now that they're not *officially* working for the British monarchy, folks want to know: what will Meghan and Harry's last name be?
The answer, as you probably could guess, isn't super straightforward. That said, the last name they gave their son, Archie Harrison, when he was born last May might be an indicator.
While Harry and Meghan are the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and could technically use "Sussex" for themselves or Archie in school or other government paperwork — Prince William and Kate Middleton use "Cambridge" since they are the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge — the pair chose to put "Mountbatten-Windsor" as their son's official last name. Technically, Meghan and Harry have the option to use the same surname, as well.
Why Mountbatten-Windsor? Per the royal family's website, in 1960, Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh decided that they wanted to distinguish their direct descendants with a different last name. Before this, "Windsor" was the surname used by all male and unmarried female descendants of King George V.
"It was therefore declared in the Privy Council that The Queen's descendants, other than those with the style of Royal Highness and the title of Prince/Princess, or female descendants who marry, would carry the name of Mountbatten-Windsor," the site reads, noting that "Mountbatten" is in reference to Prince Philip's surname.
"The effect of the declaration was that all The Queen's children, on occasions when they needed a surname, would have the surname Mountbatten-Windsor."
And so, assuming Meghan and Harry wish to have the same last name as their son, it's believed that when a surname is required, the pair will likely take up Mountbatten-Windsor.
It's important to note, though, that a statement released by Her Majesty this past week declared that Harry and Meghan "will not use their HRH [His/Her Royal Highness] titles" anymore. Notice the word "use" here — as ITV News royal editor Chris Ship points out, this means that Harry and Meghan will still be known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, but will simply have the "royal highness" privileges taken away. The title loss is similar to how Her Royal Highness Princess Diana became "Diana, Princess of Wales" after she divorced Prince Charles in 1996.
Clarification on the HRH style: both Harry and Meghan will RETAIN them but they will no longer USE them.— Chris Ship (@chrisshipitv) January 18, 2020
They will be known as
• Harry, The Duke of Sussex
• Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex#HarryandMeghan
In the end, though, this shouldn't affect their last name — we're still willing to bet that Mountbatten-Windsor will be the moniker they use on occasions that a surname is deemed necessary. Of course, Meghan and Harry have broken with royal protocol before, so it wouldn't be entirely shocking if they went a different route. At this point, it's still a bit of a wait-and-see game.
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