For the past few months, rumors have been swirling about Prince Harry possibly getting engaged to his girlfriend, Suits star Meghan Markle. The ginger prince, who was formerly known for his notorious playboy behavior, finally seems ready to settle down. And though the Queen has approved of Markle and Harry's courtship, will she give her blessing for a royal marriage? With the thought of another royal wedding on the horizon, here's what you need to know about marrying into the British royal family.
Meghan Markle may have all the requirements to make a great royal, but there is one little catch: The actress has been married before. According to King George III's Royal Marriages Act of 1772, senior members of the royal families cannot marry someone who is divorced—or Catholic, for that matter.
Marrying divorcées has been frowned upon by the British royal family for decades. In 1936, Edward VIII famously abdicated from the throne to marry Wallis Simpson, an American socialite who was not only divorced, but also still married to her second husband during the couple's love affair. Edward's parents, King George V and Queen Mary, did not approve of the relationship and refused to meet Simpson. When George V died, the government and Prime Minister Baldwin denied Edward permission to marry Simpson, leaving him to choose between the crown and the love of his life.
In 2013, the traditional Royal Marriages Act was repealed in favor of the Successions to the Crown Act. The new act means that only the first six in line to the throne need the Queen's permission in order to marry. If she objects to an individual, the marriage will not happen. In 2005, the Queen granted her son Prince Charles permission to marry Camilla Parker Bowles, despite the fact that Camilla had been divorced and was also Charles' mistress. Today, Markle shouldn't have to worry about much.
The Royal Marriages Act of 1772 also prohibited the marriage of royal family members to commoners (anyone not of noble blood). But now, as long as the Queen approves of the individual marrying into the family, then the marriage is considered valid, whether the person is of noble blood or not. Unlike Lady Diana Spencer, Charles' first wife, Camilla Parker Bowles was not only divorced, but also a commoner, whose marriage had to be approved by the Queen. Another famous commoner to marry into the royal family is none other than Kate Middleton. Kate became Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge after her marriage to Prince William in 2011.