This weekend, the eyes of the world were on Windsor and the British Royal Family. It was a brilliant ceremony, with distinctly British and American flavours, with a nice mix of personal and traditional moments. I, along with a billion or so of my closest friends, thoroughly enjoyed it, and I am personally thrilled for the happy couple.
However, since Saturday I have been asked numerous times various questions regarding titles and the proper ways of addressing Prince Harry and Meghan today. I can sum all these questions up into two simple ones.
First, is Meghan (and Catherine) a princess? Second, what do we call Prince Harry and Meghan?
First, on the princess aspect, neither Catherine nor Meghan are addressed as princess. The questioner was confused because Diana was addressed as the Princess of Wales, and it is common to hear people refer to her as Princess Diana.
Here’s what should clarify this for you. All three women married into the Royal Family, and none of them are princesses by direct descent from the Sovereign. They, therefore, take their titles from those of their husbands. Diana, since she married The Prince of Wales (the title given to the heir apparent to the throne), became Diana, Princess of Wales. Catherine, upon marriage to Prince William, became Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge since the title of The Duke of Cambridge was given to Prince William on his wedding day. And Meghan took on the title of Duchess of Sussex, as the title of The Duke of Sussex was given to Prince Harry on his wedding day.
Both Catherine and Meghan are referred to as Her Royal Highness (HRH). Together, each couple is referred to as Their Royal Highnesses (TRH). HRH is also the abbreviation for His Royal Highness.
Now, let’s confuse things a wee bit. Both Prince William and Prince Harry have different titles for various countries that make up the United Kingdom. So, here are the titles for both William and Catherine, and Harry and Meghan, based on where they are located. Outside of the United Kingdom, as a general rule the Duke and Duchess titles will be used.
So, to answer the second question regarding what to call them, here are some lovely lists for your enjoyment.
Prince William and Catherine
- TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – England and the World
- TRH The Earl and Countess of Strathearn – Scotland
- TRH The Baron and Baroness of Carrickfergus – Northern Ireland
- HRH The Duchess of Cambridge – England and the World
- HRH The Countess of Strathearn – Scotland
- HRH The Lady Carrickfergus – Northern Ireland
Prince Harry and Meghan
- TRH The Duke and Duchess of Sussex – England and the World
- TRH The Earl and Countess of Dumbarton – Scotland
- TRH The Baron and Baroness of Kilkeel – Northern Ireland
- HRH The Duchess of Sussex – England and the World
- HRH The Countess of Dumbarton – Scotland
- HRH The Baroness of Kilkeel – Northern Ireland
And an interesting side note. When HRH Prince Charles ascends to the throne, the title of Prince of Wales will pass to Prince William. When that happens, Catherine’s title will change to Catherine, Princess of Wales.
Photo credit: Thomas J. Mace-Archer-Mills