Why Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Won't Have Custody of Their Children

A bizarre royal rule explains why the couple won't technically have custody of their kids.

While it's none of our business if and when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle decide to have a baby, it's worth noting that if they do, they won't actually have full custody of their children. According to reports, the Royal Family have a somewhat bizarre custody agreement with Queen Elizabeth II.

What do you think of this custodial agreement?

It's ridiculous! How can a child's parents not have full legal custody?

It makes sense for the royals. The Queen should be in charge.


According to royal expert Marlene Koenig, Her Majesty has full legal custody over some of the minor royals. "The sovereign has legal custody of the minor grandchildren," Koenig said.

"This goes back to King George I [who ruled in the early 1700s], and the law’s never been changed. He did it because he had a very poor relationship with his son, the future King George II, so they had this law passed that meant the King was the guardian of his grandchildren."

King George I reportedly once declared the monarch’s "right of supervision extended to his grandchildren and this right of right belongs to His Majesty, King of the Realm, even during their father’s lifetime." While the law may be over 300 years old, it's reportedly still in place and yet - if ever - to be repealed.

The legislation is still in place with Prince William and Kate Middleton's three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis. However, the Queen is unlikely to step in to dictate how the great-grandchildren are raised.

According to Koenig, in the event of the Queen’s passing, the legal custody of the Cambridge children and any other grandchildren in the palace will be passed onto their grandfather Prince Charles who would then be king.


That said, Koenig revealed the Queen has occasionally been known to step in when it comes to conversations regarding the care of Harry and William.

Prince Charles reportedly once had to ask permission from his mother for the young boys to fly on a plane together to Scotland. Meanwhile, an absence of the Queen’s permission meant Princess Diana was not allowed to fly with her children to Australia shortly before her death.

In an article in The Times dated 5 December 1993, Constitutional expert Michael L. Nash wrote that the "Queen has the last word in the custody upbringing, education and even the right of abode of the princes, even during the lifetime of their father, Prince Charles. As for their mother, the Princess of Wales, her say is a matter of discretion and negotiation."

"Technically, they needed permission for travel. The Queen has the last word on parenting decisions like that," Koenig claimed.

The expert also added that in situations of royal divorces, custody isn't actually included in the divorce papers or agreements, as the couples don't have legal custody of their children.

In the late Princess Diana's will, a clause stated that she wished her brother, Earl Spencer, to be the guardian of any child of hers "under age at the date of the survivor of myself and my husband."

However, the blog Royal Musings - written by Koenig - points out that the clause probably wouldn't have held up in court because the Princess of Wales had "no legal right to decide about her children's upbringing and education."


In their first interview together after announcing their engagement, Meghan and Harry suggested they want to have children in the future. When asked about their plans to start a family, Harry said: "No [not now], of course, you know, one step at a time. Hopefully, we’ll start a family in the near future.'"


*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com

*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors

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Katie O'Malley
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