meghan markle northern ireland march 2018

Meghan Markle: what will be her new name and title after the royal wedding?

The actress will marry Prince Harry on 19 May at St George's Chapel, Windsor

Gemma Strong

Meghan Markle is just weeks away from officially joining the royal family when she marries Prince Harry on 19 May. And just like Duchess Kate, she will have a new title bestowed upon her following her nuptials. But what will her new name and title be? Meghan's full name at the moment is Rachel Meghan Markle – but given that she was named as Meghan in the engagement announcement, she is likely to continue to do so after she is married. As for her surname, it seems probable that she will take on the last name adopted by the British royal family in 1917: Mountbatten-Windsor. It means that on official documents - such as a driving licence - she will be called Rachel Meghan Mountbatten-Windsor.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be married on 19 May

The descendants of the Queen carry the name Windsor, as well as the name Mountbatten, in honour of Prince Philip. According to the official royal website: "The Royal Family name of Windsor was confirmed by The Queen after her accession in 1952. However, in 1960, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh decided that they would like their own direct descendants to be distinguished from the rest of the Royal Family (without changing the name of the Royal House), as Windsor is the surname used by all the male and unmarried female descendants of George V. It was therefore declared in the Privy Council that The Queen's descendants, other than those with the style of Royal Highness and the title of Prince/Princess, or female descendants who marry, would carry the name of Mountbatten-Windsor."

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William and Kate became the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the occasion of their marriage

Harry is therefore likely to use Mountbatten-Windsor when he signs the marriage register. That being said, the royals often just go by their first names; when Harry and William were at school and serving in the military they were listed under the surname Wales, in honour of their father, the Prince of Wales. Similarly, Prince George is registered at school with the last name Cambridge. On his birth certificate, George's name was listed as His Royal Highness Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge – with no surname added.

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Duke and Duchess of Sussex?

It's also likely that the Queen will grant Harry a dukedom upon his wedding – just as she did with Prince William and Kate, who became the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The most likely contender for Harry and Meghan is the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. The only previous Duke of Sussex was married twice, but neither marriages were considered lawful by his father George III, meaning they were considered unlawful. It therefore stands that Meghan could become the first women entitled to use the title HRH The Duchess of Sussex.

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