Meghan Markle, 39, and Prince Harry, 36, have settled in the USA with their son Archie Harrison, one, following their departure as senior royals in March. While the Sussexes seem set on raising Archie outside the royal bubble he could as an adult choose to re-enter the fold with a symbolic move.
While Meghan and Harry chose not to give Archie an official title upon his birth he is still technically the Earl of Dumbarton, a constitutional expert explained.
Archie will also automatically become a prince when his grandfather Prince Charles, 71, succeeds the throne and will able to choose whether or not to use his royal titles when he turns 18.
Presiding monarchs maintain the right to decide who pertains royal titles and given Meghan and Harry’s wish to keep Archie ‘un-royal’ it is plausible Prince Charles could change the law so that Archie does not become a prince when he is king.
Asked whether this is likely, constitutional expert Iain MacMarthanne told Express.co.uk: “Like his great-grandfather, grandfather and mother before him the Prince of Wales when he becomes king will, in consultation with the prime minister and cabinet of the day, be able to amend, change and determine who enjoys the style and title HRH and prince or princess.”
Mr MacMarthanne added: “Whether this happens, and who it might affect, only time will tell.”
According to Mr MacMarthanne Archie will automatically become a prince when Charles takes the throne, despite Meghan and Harry’s royal exit.
The expert said: “As things presently stand, and irrespective of his parents’ withdrawal from front line royal duties, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, otherwise the Earl of Dumbarton, and upon the accession of his grandfather HRH Prince Archie of Sussex, unless the Queen determines otherwise in the meantime, is, by courtesy, an earl, and will become an HRH and Prince.”
While Letters Patent dictate the laws around who is classified as an HRH, royal parents still have a say, Mr MacMarthanne explained.
He said: “Despite Letters Patent stating one thing it remains the right of his parents, in consultation with the monarch, to dispense with the use of any and all titles due to him by right.”
Mr MacMarthanne claimed Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex reached such a deal with the Queen.
While their children Lady Louise Windsor, 16, and James, Viscount Severn are technically a princess and prince, they are styled after their father’s peerage instead.
Mr MacMarthanne said: “A current example of this is the children of the Earl and Countess of Wessex and Forfar, their daughter rather than being HRH Princess Louise of Wessex and Forfar is known as Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor; and her brother, styled Viscount Severn, is in fact HRH Prince James of Wessex and Forfar.”
According to Mr MacMarthanne Archie could ultimately choose to be known as a prince despite his parents’ wishes.
He said: “By Letters Patent, unless changed, there is no escaping the legal fact of them, notwithstanding that personal choice, with the approval of the monarch, can subvert them.
“In the case of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, they have made clear they have no wish for their son to have, or use any title.
“This has been granted and unless they or their son choose otherwise he will continue not to use them.”
Archie has the right to choose whether or not to claim his royal title when he turns 18.
Mr MacMarthanne said: “It does though remain their son’s right to assume use of them in his own right when he reaches his majority.”
According to the expert, the power Archie has to exercise his royal right when he reaches adulthood is a “sting in the tail” for Meghan and Harry.
He said: “There is a sting in the tail here in terms of the son reaching his majority, while his parents might choose one thing now he will be able to choose another come his majority, should he choose and the status quo remains.”