It has been proven time and again that the 1917 letters patent are very important when it comes to the royal family, especially when allowing royal children to have titles…
What do Beatrice and Eugenie and their newborn cousin, Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor have in common? At first glance, you might say a bit as they’re all royals. But, what about titles? Of course, Prince Andrew’s daughters are blood princesses. Baby Lili is too, technically as her father is Prince Harry but doesn’t sport ‘princess’ as a moniker. Now, why is this when the infant and her older, more senior relatives as daughters of Dukes? Well, it has it to do with the 1917 letters patent.
Now, if you’ve been reading Project Fangirl for a while, you’ll know a little bit about it. Especially since it was mentioned during the Oprah Interview. Long story short, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor was never entitled to have a title at birth, despite Meghan saying he was. She got her wires crossed, clearly thinking he’d get security but this was never the case.
Grandchild versus Great-Grandchild
While Beatrice, Eugenie, and Lili are all daughters of Dukes, only the York sisters are princesses. The reason is that Prince Andrew’s daughters are grandchildren of The Queen. Lili is a great-grandchild. The 1917 letters patent say only the children and grandchildren of the monarch are entitled to be Prince or Princess. However, there are exceptions to the rule.
If a child is born to a blood princess who is the daughter of the monarch then they don’t get a title unless the sovereign steps in. One example of this is Princess Anne’s two children, Peter Phillips, and Zara Tindall. Because the Princess Royal is the daughter of the Queen, her children were not given titles at birth. Though, Her Majesty offered to grant her two eldest grandchildren titles. Anne, however, wanted Peter and Zara to grow up as private citizens and refused her mother’s offer.
We wrote yesterday about whether The Queen’s youngest granddaughter, Lady Louise would become a princess when she turned 18. If a grandchild of the sovereign is born to an Earl like Louise and her brother James are, then they receive courtesy titles rather than HRH titles. Though, it is up to the parent of the child to determine whether they accept the monarch’s offer to give the child such titles.
When Prince Charles, Lili and her brother Archie’s paternal grandfather becomes King, then and only then would both of them be entitled to be Princess and Prince respectively.
Wait… What About The Cambridge Children?
Thank you for asking! Now, the reason the Cambridge children have titles is that the Queen changed the rule prior to Prince George’s birth in July 2013. The 1917 letters patent stated that only the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales would be given a title while the others would not. Feeling this was unfair to all of her great-grandchildren via Prince William, Her Majesty stepped and had the rule altered, allowing all children born to The Duke of Cambridge to have titles, regardless of what gender was born first.
So, if Prince George had been born a girl, the child would still have become HRH Princess X of Cambridge. Since Charlotte and Louis are not firstborns, they were still given titles so it would not have to be done when their grandfather takes the throne.
Finally, it should be noted that the Cambridge children are the only great-grandchildren of The Queen to have titles. So, when Meghan told Oprah that to have a title meant having security, she was wrong as the York sisters don’t have security as it was stripped from them when they hit their adult years. The only time Prince Edward and Sophie get security is when they’re on public engagements. Also, the Queen does not make that decision. The Police do.