Why Meghan Markle Is Listed as a Princess on Archie’s Birth Certificate

She and Prince Harry welcomed their son, the first child, last week.

By Holly Passalaqua, Corinne Heller May 17, 2019 4:48 PMTags
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Meghan Markle's occupation, as listed on her baby's birth certificate, may confuse some people.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex welcomed their first child, son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, last week. On Friday, his birth certificate was released to the press. On it, his mother is listed as "Rachel Meghan Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex"—noting her real first name, with "Princess of the United Kingdom" listed as her occupation.

The former Suits actress' sister-in-law Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, has an identical occupation listed on the birth certificates of her and Prince William's three kids.

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The tradition of using the word "princess" to describe the status of a prince's wife in the U.K. dates back to 1923, when Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon married Prince Albert, the Duke of York, second son of King George V, royal historian and Royal Musings blogger Marlene Koenig told E! News.

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"The Duke and Duchess of York were later known as King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the parents of Queen Elizabeth II," she said. "The press of the day asked about the status of the new Duchess of York. Lord Stamfordham [the king's private secretary] issued a statement: 'In accordance with the settled general rule that a wife takes the status of her husband, Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon on her marriage has become Her Royal Highness the Duchess of York with the status of a Princess."

"Harry is a prince, so his wife is a princess," Koenig said. "In the U.K., a wife takes her husband's rank unless her rank is higher, such as a peeress or a sovereign or a princess, unless she marries a sovereign."