Will Prince Harry’s baby be prince, princess; lord or lady?
- Credit: PA
Lynne Mortimer looks at the pros and cons of being a prince or princess of the realm.
There seems to be no end of royal interest, this year.
Already, Prince Harry has wed his American bride, Meghan and they are now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex; the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, aka William and Kate have welcomed their third baby, Prince Louis into the royal family. He is fifth in line to the throne. Then, last week, Princess Eugenie, who most of us have been mispronouncing for years, married Jack Brooksbank (is there news on what he will be called?) and finally, so far, in 2018, we have the news that Harry and Meghan are expecting their first child in the spring. This baby will be seventh in the line of succession.
There will be no automatic royal title for this tiddler although the Queen can step in and confer Prince or Princess-ship on her great grandchild. It might be regarded as a mixed blessing.
According to the oracle of all things aristocratic, Debretts the first son and heir apparent of a duke can used one of his father’s lesser titles. This would mean (I hope you’re managing to hang in there), a son of Harry, Duke of Cambridge, would become Earl of Dumbarton. Generally, the couple’s children would become Lord or Lady Mountbatten Windsor, I understand.
In 1960, the Queen passed a ruling which only entitled the children or the grandchildren of the sovereign to take the title of Prince or Princess. However, for the grandchildren to take the titles, they must be born to the sovereign’s son – not daughter.
Zara Phillips regards not having a title as a blessing. In the past she has said: “I’ve been very lucky. My parents didn’t give us titles, so we’ve been able to have a slightly more normal upbringing.”
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Comparing what we know of her life and her brother, Peter’s, to the lives of her cousins, William and Harry, this is demonstrably the case. Every moment of the princes’ lives, where possible, has been pictured, catalogued and pored over. They have not had the luxury of making mistakes without anyone knowing.
At the same time, the two princes have been able to highlight causes close to their hearts in a way lesser royals have not. It was not until Princess Eugenie’s wedding day that I was aware of the support she gives to charities, whereas, Prince Harry’s Invictus Games have a world-wide profile.
Here are some pros and cons of having that very royal title of Prince or Princess:
• You have a coat of arms and very posh headed notepaper
• People will give you things... pots of jam, flowers etc, hand-knitted matinée jackets for the new baby.
• You get the best seats in the house for top sporting events and the most coveted shows in town.
• You meet fascinating people and have celebrity friends from the world of show business
• Unless you want to, you will never have to do boring household chores because you can afford to pay people to do them - because you are massively wealthy
• You can confer patronage
• You will be sincerely loved by thousands upon thousands of people who believe we are better off for having a royal family
• You can promote the UK abroad by being gracious, attentive to other heads of state, wearing British-designed clothes etc
• You have the best chance to live “the fairytale”
• You have a place in history reserved for you
• Most of the time you get to meet only shiny, happy people who are too tongue-tied by your presence to hold a proper conversation
• Sycophancy can be embarrassing
• Your private life barely exists
• The times you look nice and the interesting things you have to say are barely reported whereas the ill-advised pink velvet suit and the spoonerism in your speech about comedy and how things tickle your bunny phone.
• Never being grumpy
• Being unable to keep up with EastEnders/Coronation Street because of all the state banquets etc
• Being followed by paparazzi
• Fear of burping or breaking wind at inappropriate moments
• Never being allowed to express an honest opinion about politics or say what you are really thinking
• Not wanting to go down in history as the royal that caused the revolution that brought down the monarchy, bringing about the Second Republic