This is why Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s baby won’t get a royal title

Even as seventh in line to the throne, the new royal baby won't be a prince or a princess, thanks to a hundred-year-old rule.

In 1917, King George V issued a statement that "the grandchildren of the sons of any such Sovereign in the direct male line (save only the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales) shall have and enjoy in all occasions the style and title enjoyed by the children of Dukes of these Our Realms."

Queen Elizabeth II is the current sovereign, so her children and grandchildren get royal titles. But her great-grandchildren—like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's child—would be Lord or Lady Mountbatten-Windsor, rather than a prince or princess, and they don't get the HRH title of a "royal highness".

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Harry and Meghan's baby arrives
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex walk away with their baby son, who was born on Monday morning, following a photocall in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle in Berkshire.
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 08: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex travel down The Mall in a horse drawn carriage during Trooping The Colour, the Queen's annual birthday parade, on June 8, 2019 in London, England. The annual ceremony involving over 1400 guardsmen and cavalry, is believed to have first been performed during the reign of King Charles II. The parade marks the official birthday of the Sovereign, although the Queen's actual birthday is on April 21st. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
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LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 08: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (ring detail) travels down The Mall in a horse drawn carriage during Trooping The Colour, the Queen's annual birthday parade, on June 8, 2019 in London, England. The annual ceremony involving over 1400 guardsmen and cavalry, is believed to have first been performed during the reign of King Charles II. The parade marks the official birthday of the Sovereign, although the Queen's actual birthday is on April 21st. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with their baby son, who was born on Monday morning, during a photocall in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle in Berkshire.
The birth certificate of Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, son of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who was born at the Portland Hospital in London.
EMBARGOED to 1240 WEDNESDAY MAY 08 2019. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with their baby son, who was born on Monday morning, during a photocall in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle in Berkshire.
EMBARGOED to 1240 WEDNESDAY MAY 08 2019. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with their baby son, who was born on Monday morning, during a photocall in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle in Berkshire.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with their baby son, who was born on Monday morning, during a photocall in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle in Berkshire.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge talk to members of the media about their newborn nephew as they arrive to launch the King's Cup Regatta trophy at the Cutty Sark, London.
Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (L) and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge wave to wellwishers as they leave after attending the launch of the King's Cup Regatta, at the Cutty Sark in Greenwich, south east London on May 7, 2019. - The event is set to take place on August 9, 2019, on the Isle of Wight, and is set to see The Duke and Duchess go head to head as skippers of individual sailing boats, in an eight boat regatta race. Each boat taking part will represent one of eight charities and the winning team will be awarded the historic trophy The King's Cup. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / various sources / AFP) (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
Crowds watch the changing of the guard at Windsor Castle in Berkshire, following the announcement of the birth of a baby boy to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)
Super fan Terry Hutt, 84 (centre), is presented with a birthday cake by members of the media for a tv stunt in Windsor, Berkshire, following the announcement of the birth of a baby boy to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - MAY 07: Political artist and painter Kaya Mar outside Windsor Castle on May 7, 2019 in Windsor, United Kingdom. Meghan, Duchess of Sussex gave birth to a baby boy yesterday weighing 7lbs 3oz at 05:26 BST. (Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - MAY 07: A well-wisher outside Windsor Castle on May 7, 2019 in Windsor, United Kingdom. Meghan, Duchess of Sussex gave birth to a baby boy yesterday weighing 7lbs 3oz at 05:26 BST. (Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images)
Royal fans celebrate outside Windsor Castle in Berkshire after Buckingham Palace announced the news of the birth of a baby boy born to Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of Sussex, Monday May 6, 2019. It is the first child for Harry and Meghan, who married a year ago. (Dominic Lipinski/PA via AP)
Changing of the guard at Windsor Castle in Berkshire, following the announcement of the birth of a baby boy to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
A man dressed in a costume makes an announcement outside Windsor Castle that Britain's Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex gave birth to a boy, in Windsor, Britain May 6, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
A man dressed in a costume makes an announcement outside Windsor Castle that Britain's Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex gave birth to a boy, in Windsor, Britain May 6, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Britain's Prince Harry smiles as he speaks to the media after Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, gave birth to a baby boy, at Windsor Castle, Berkshire county, Britain May 6, 2019. Steve Parsons/Pool via REUTERS
Britain's Prince Harry walks up to the awaiting media after Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, gave birth to a baby boy, at Windsor Castle, Berkshire county, Britain May 6, 2019. Steve Parsons/Pool via REUTERS
People celebrate outside Windsor Castle after Britain's Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex gave birth to a boy, in Windsor, Britain May 6, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
People gather outside Windsor Castle after Britain's Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex gave birth to a boy, in Windsor, Britain May 6, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
People gather outside Windsor Castle after Britain's Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex gave birth to a boy, in Windsor, Britain May 6, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
People celebrate outside Windsor Castle after Britain's Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex gave birth to a boy, in Windsor, Britain May 6, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
People celebrate outside Windsor Castle after Britain's Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex gave birth to a boy, in Windsor, Britain May 6, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
People celebrate the birth of the baby of Britain's Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex at Windsor Castle in Windsor, Britain May 6, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
People celebrate the birth of the baby of Britain's Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex at Windsor Castle in Windsor, Britain May 6, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Well wishers gather outside the gates of Buckingham Palace in London, Monday May 6, 2019, after Prince Harry announced that his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, has given birth to a boy. (AP Photo/Vudi Xhymshiti)
The Duke of Sussex public house in Waterloo, London on the day the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had a baby boy.
Footmen Stephen Kelly and Sarah Thompson bring out the easel in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace to formally announce the birth of a baby boy to Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, in London, Monday, May 6, 2019. (Yui Mok/Pool Photo via AP)
Footmen Stephen Kelly and Sarah Thompson bring out the easel in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace in London to formally announce the birth of a baby boy to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
A notice placed on an easel in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace in London to formally announce the birth of a baby boy to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
People gather outside Buckingham Palace to take pictures on their mobile phones of the notice placed on an easel in the palace's forecourt in London to formally announce the birth of a baby boy to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
People gather outside Buckingham Palace to take pictures on their mobile phones of the notice placed on an easel in the palace's forecourt in London to formally announce the birth of a baby boy to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
The BT Tower in London displays a message in celebration of the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's new baby boy.
EMBARGOED to 1240 WEDNESDAY MAY 08 2019. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with their baby son, who was born on Monday morning, during a photocall in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle in Berkshire.
EMBARGOED to 1240 WEDNESDAY MAY 08 2019. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with their baby son, who was born on Monday morning, during a photocall in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle in Berkshire.
EMBARGOED to 1240 WEDNESDAY MAY 08 2019. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with their baby son, who was born on Monday morning, during a photocall in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle in Berkshire.
EMBARGOED to 1240 WEDNESDAY MAY 08 2019. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with their baby son, who was born on Monday morning, during a photocall in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle in Berkshire.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with their baby son, who was born on Monday morning, during a photocall in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle in Berkshire.
File photo dated 08/05/19 of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex with their baby son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. It was confirmed that the Duchess gave birth to Archie at the private Portland Hospital in Westminster, according to her son's birth certificate.
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So why are Prince William and Kate Middleton's kids lucky enough to get those royal titles? Because the queen said so, of course.

As a direct heir to the throne, George would have been a prince no matter what—but Charlotte and Louis wouldn't have. When Kate was pregnant, Queen Elizabeth issued a letter giving the Prince or Princess title to any of William's children. And that means there's still hope for Meghan and Harry! If they want to give their kids titles, that is.

Some of the queen's grandchildren, such as Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn, could have been given royal titles when they were born, but their parents asked the queen not to so that they could live more "normal" lives. So if Queen Elizabeth decides not to extend the HRH title, it might not be a bad thing after all.

- This article first appeared on Reader's Digest

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