Meghan Markle may be marrying a Prince today, but that doesn’t make her a princess. Queen Elizabeth has now, given the couple their new titles.
They will now be known as ‘The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’.
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To be precise, Prince Harry’s titles will be ‘His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton and Baron Kilkeel’. Once married, Meghan will be known as ‘Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex’. She will be the first bride to hold this title.
The only person ever to hold the title of Duke of Sussex was an anti-slavery campaigner and supporter of rights for Catholics and Jews. It was Prince Augustus Frederick, son of George III and Queen Charlotte, who gained the title in the year 1801.
The earlier tradition of granting the Royal titles.
The titles are granted under the British monarchy’s system of ‘peerage’. This traces back to feudal times. Originally, the reigning monarch would bestow titles on servants who pledged loyalty in exchange for protection or land, making them a peer of the realm.
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But, today, it is used for relatives of the monarch. Titles are decided by the Queen herself when a relative either comes of age or gets married. Queen Elizabeth, can choose from five titles for a man: Duke, Marquess, Earl, Viscount or Baron. And, for a woman: Duchess, Marchioness, Countess, Viscountess and Baroness.
Dukedom is the highest of all five.
Typically, the family members are given the titles of Duke and Duchess. But, the Queen can choose to bestow more than one title. In the case of Prince William, he and his wife, Kate Middleton, became the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. But, Her majesty also granted Prince William the titles of Earl of Strathearn and Baron Carrickfergus.