Can Meghan Markle Ever Become Queen? Her Place in the Line of Succession Explained
Can Meghan Markle ever become Queen? Since Markle married Prince Harry in May 2018, many people have speculated about her likelihood of becoming Queen and whether the actress has a place in the line of succession to the British royal throne.
Following Queen Elizabeth II's death, supporters, global diplomats, and the royal family are all mourning. The line of succession to the throne will be changed following the monarch's death.
According to The Royal Family website, the critical pieces of constitutional development, the Bill of Rights (1689) and the Act of Settlement (1701), set the stage for succession.
Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, sits with Queen Elizabeth II at a ceremony to open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge on June 14, 2018, in Halton, Cheshire, England. | Source: Getty Images
Will Meghan Markle Ever Become Queen?
Meghan married Prince Harry in May 2018, and they share two children, Archie and Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor. Markle cannot become Queen, and she would seem to have a slim chance of becoming Queen Consort.
Queen Consort is a royal designation of the ruling king's wife. The title would be impossible for Meghan to obtain unless Harry became king, which could happen if his long line of heirs passes away or they decline to ascend to the throne.
The title Queen Consort, however, may be changed in the future. As part of the Succession to the Crown Act, parliament reportedly discussed offering the title of "Princess Consort" to any king's wife.
The proposal to establish a brand new royal recognition has sparked an ongoing discussion about ensuring equal title distribution regarding royal marriages.
Even if Prince Harry becomes a king, Meghan will not be named Queen. However, she might be honored with the Queen Consort title, traditionally bestowed upon the monarch's spouse.
A similar "consort" title was bestowed upon the late Prince Philip, who passed away in April 2021. When he married Queen Elizabeth II in November 1947, he gave up his title of Prince of Greece and Denmark and became Duke of Edinburgh.
When the late Queen ascended to the throne after her father, King George VI, died in February 1952, Prince Philip was not crowned king; instead, he was given the title of Prince Consort.
The late Duke of Edinburgh was not proclaimed king as he was not a descendant of the British throne. According to royal tradition, only the male heirs to the throne can become a king; in this case, it will be their son, Prince Charles.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary on November 18, 2007, in Broadlands, Hampshire. | Source: Getty Images
Who Is in Line to the Throne First?
Following the recent death of Queen Elizabeth II, devastating many people and global leaders, the late Queen's son, the Prince of Wales, succeeded the throne. He is now King Charles III.
After His Majesty The King ascended to the throne, at least five members of the royal family were closer to succeeding to the throne. According to The Royal Family website, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, is the first in line.
Prince William's three children with his wife Kate Middleton succeed him. Prince George is second on the line, Princess Charlotte is third, and Prince Louise is fourth. Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, the children's uncle, is the fifth in line to the throne.
Prince Harry and Markle's son Archie is sixth in the line, and their daughter Lilibet is seventh. The family members mentioned above are placed higher on the list since they are the direct heirs of the new reigning monarch.
King Charles III is the late Queen's eldest son. As a result, the new king's siblings, Prince Andrew, Princess Anne, and Prince Edward, as well as their successors after them, appear to be a long way from the throne. However, the royal website stated:
"The succession to the throne is regulated not only through descent but also by Parliamentary statute. The order of succession is the sequence of members of the Royal Family in the order in which they stand in line to the throne."
When Did Meghan Markle Step Down as Senior Royal?
Meghan stepped down from her duties as a working senior royal family member two years ago. She has been excluded from participating in any royal activities since then, despite her husband being one of the potential heirs to the throne.
Despite being included on the list of successors, Prince Harry and the Hollywood actress announced their departure from their roles on January 8, 2020, after a holiday break in Vancouver Island, Canada.
The couple stated they would spend time in the United Kingdom and North America. They also indicated their desire to become "financially independent" while continuing to support Prince Harry's late grandmother.
Meghan Markle's family relocated to Santa Barbara.
Queen Elizabeth II supported the couple's request to be free from royal responsibilities. She gave an emotional and rare statement during the Sandringham Summit on January 13 of the same year. The statement read:
"Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working Members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family."
The couple officially ended their royal duties in March 2020 and relocated to Los Angeles, California, with their son. They resided in a Beverly Hills mansion formerly owned by film mogul Tyler Perry.
Buckingham Palace confirmed in February 2020 that the pair would not be returning to their roles in the royal family. Although they will no longer be referred to as "His and Her Royal Highnesses," their titles as Duke and Duchess of Sussex will remain.
In July 2020, Meghan Markle's family relocated to Santa Barbara. They began creating projects with streaming giant Netflix and digital music provider Spotify. She and her husband welcomed Lilibet in June 2021.