IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Why Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's baby boy might not get prince title

Not every male member of the royal family gets to be a prince.
/ Source: TODAY

The wait is over! The Duke and Duchess of Sussex welcomed a royally amazing addition to the family Monday morning.

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, are now the proud parents of a 7-pound, 3-ounce baby boy whose name remains a mystery — but that's not the only question mark surrounding their new bundle of joy.

Whether Baby Sussex officially gets to be called a prince or not is uncertain at this point, because of a century-old rule related to royal hierarchy.

“Actually, they’re not entitled to be ‘princes’ and ‘princesses’ unless the queen steps in and gives them that title officially,” Camilla Tominey, associate editor of the Daily Telegraph, told TODAY back in October.

That means it’s possible that the new royal baby may end up with a title that doesn’t reflect Prince Harry’s, nor the family name and heritage.

Harry and Meghan baby health bounce/Zika concerns
Will the child of Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, get to be called a prince? It will depend on Harry's grandmother, Queen ElizabethGetty Images

“If it is a boy, it might be the Earl of Dumbarton, which sounds a bit weird because it’s obviously not the same as Windsor or Wales for Prince Harry, but that’s because he’s far down the succession line now after the Cambridge children were born,” Tominey said at the time.

The Earl of Dumbarton? Prince Harry himself was given that title by the queen on his wedding day along with the title Baron Kilkeel, in addition to being named Duke of Sussex. Traditionally, the son of a duke is allowed to use one of his father’s lesser titles as a courtesy.

The Cambridge children, of course, are the three youngsters belonging to Harry’s brother, Prince William, who is also known as the Duke of Cambridge. William is the second in line to the British throne, after his father, Prince Charles. After William, his children are the next in line of succession: Prince George, 5, Princess Charlotte, 4, and Prince Louis, 1.

Prince George and his sister Princess Charlotte
Prince George and his little sister, Princess Charlotte, at last year's wedding of Princess Eugenie to Jack Brooksbank.AFP/Getty Images

If Harry and Meghan had welcomed a girl, she would have likely been called just “a lady,” according to Tominey.

William and his wife, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, faced a similar situation when they were expecting their first child.

That prompted Queen Elizabeth to override a decree issued in 1917 by her grandfather, King George V, that limited the titles members of the royal family could hold. In essence, only the eldest male descendant in the direct male line of the sovereign could be called a prince.

But the queen revised the rule in December 2012 so that all of William's children would carry the title of prince or princess.

The monarch would have to make a similar change if the children of Harry and Meghan are to hold a title of anything other than an earl or lady.

“It’s the complicated way us British do it,” Tominey joked.

Kensington Palace issued a statement in October announcing the joyful news that Harry, 34, and Meghan, 37, were expecting their first child in the spring of 2019. The couple tied the knot in a May 19 ceremony that was watched around the world.