Why Prince Harry Reportedly Won't Get a Prenup Before Marrying Meghan Markle
When members of the royal family tie the knot, there’s a lot at stake—including a whole lot of money. Which is why it might be surprising to some onlookers that, according to the Daily Mail, Prince Harry has declined to seek a prenuptial agreement before he marries Meghan Markle this May. But we spoke to two royal experts who said nobody should be shocked at this news. When it comes to the royals, prenups are simply not done.
“This is not a celebrity marriage, it’s a royal marriage.”
“I don’t think members of the royal family sign prenuptial agreements,” says Katie Nicholl, author of Harry: Life, Loss, and Love. “It’s commonplace with celebrity marriage, but this is not a celebrity marriage, it’s a royal marriage.” Nicholl says that Prince William and Kate Middleton also did not sign a prenuptial agreement, despite the very public divorce between William and Harry’s parents, Prince Charles and Princess Diana. And even though three of the Queen’s four children have divorced, none apparently had a prenuptial agreement.
Yes, there is a large sum of money in the balance for this marriage, but the true, staggering wealth belongs to the Queen, so it wouldn’t be divided up if Meghan and Harry did end up divorcing. “You wouldn’t need a prenuptial agreement to stop Windsor Castle from being cut in half in the event they divorce, because it’s not Harry’s,” says Duncan Larcombe, author of Prince Harry: The Inside Story.
Larcombe notes that Harry does have substantial wealth on his own, thanks to his inheritance from Princess Diana, but the Queen holds the vast majority of the royal property and fortune. The Queen's net worth has been estimated at around $500 million, while Prince Harry's is estimated anywhere from $25 to $40 million. Meghan also has her own money as a successful actress on Suits, reportedly making around $50,000 per episode of the long-running series.
If Meghan and Harry do ever divorce, Larcombe adds, the vast majority of negotiations would happen outside of court. For example, Diana received a new title, a financial settlement, and was entitled to royal security protection, although she turned that down. Plus, the Daily Mail notes that even though prenups are taken into account in U.K. divorces, they’re not legally enforceable.
And though royal divorces may have had a violent start, thanks to Henry VIII’s habit for decapitation, royal splits try to make as few waves as possible in modern times. “In the modern history of the royal family, the divorce is described as amicable for PR reasons,” Larcombe says, “and the person who is departing the royal family, they’re just looked after, and those arrangements are not done through court, they’re done behind closed doors.”
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.