When Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Have Their Baby, This Strange Royal Rule Will Make Things Complicated

Technically, the Queen has custody.

The Duke & Duchess of Sussex Visit The Nelson Mandela Centenary Exhibition
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Juggling the complicated protocol of the royal family is always going to be difficult. As Meghan Markle has learned since she first began dating Prince Harry, there’s rules and expectations for all aspects of life. But if you thought that the leg crossing and wardrobe choices were confusing enough, just wait until you hear how things work when it comes to having children—especially now that Meghan Markle is expecting their first child next spring.

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According to reports, the royal family operates with a strange custody agreement when its couples have their own children, which states that, actually, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has full legal custody over the young royals. Royal expert Marlene Koenig explained to news outlets: “The sovereign has legal custody of the minor grandchildren.”

Confused? It’s a seriously backdated regulation, as Koenig continued: “This goes back to King George I [who ruled in the early 1700s], and the law’s never been changed. He did it because he had a very poor relationship with his son, the future King George II, so they had this law passed that meant the King was the guardian of his grandchildren.”

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The royal family custody law may now be over 300 years old but, officially, it’s still standing. That means that on paper, the Queen does have custody over Prince William and Kate Middleton’s three children, Prince George, Prince Charlotte and Prince Louis. She's not like a regular Queen, she's a cool Queen, and is unlikely to take any authority in how her great-grandchildren are raised but, as Koenig claimed, the Queen does officially have the final call on big decisions, like allowing the royal family kids to travel by plane, for example.

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By the same hand, the custody rule will also apply to any children that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle decide to have together in the future. There’s all the proof that Queen Elizabeth II might look like your friendly neighborhood grandmother, but she actually owns EVERYTHING. Including your kids.

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