Prince Harry Might Lose His Royal Titles If He Becomes an American Citizen

 An old U.S. law could require Prince Harry to forfeit all of his British titles if he becomes a U.S. citizen.

Speech, Official, Spokesperson, Suit, Public speaking, Photography, White-collar worker, Formal wear,
(Image credit: WPA Pool)
  • Following their royal exit, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have reportedly moved to Los Angeles.
  • If the couple settles permanently in the United States, it could have implications for Harry's royal titles.
  • If Harry decides to apply for U.S. citizenship, he would be forced, under U.S. law, to renounce all foreign titles.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have officially retained their "HRH" titles, even though they've agreed not to use them anymore following their royal exit. Now that the Sussexes seem to have started the process of settling in Los Angeles, however, Harry's titles could be in jeopardy.

The issue would arise if Harry decides to apply for American citizenship. As The Sun points out, there's an American law that states anyone seeking naturalization must renounce any foreign titles. The relevant part of the law comes from 8 USC section 1448, subsection (b), which states:

"In case the person applying for naturalization has borne any hereditary title, or has been of any of the orders of nobility in any foreign state, the applicant shall in addition to complying with the requirements of subsection (a) of this section, make under oath in the same public ceremony in which the oath of allegiance is administered, an express renunciation of such title or order of nobility, and such renunciation shall be recorded as a part of such proceedings."

Interestingly enough, Meghan Markle is allowed to keep her titles, by U.S. law anyway. Although the Constitution prohibits the U.S. government from granting titles of nobility, it doesn't prohibit citizens from accepting titles from foreign governments. An amendment that would force citizens who accept foreign titles to renounce their U.S. citizenship was proposed, but never ratified.

Of course, since Meghan's royal titles are directly tied to Harry's, if he renounced his titles, hers would almost certainly go with them. Harry will only face these complications if he applies for citizenship, however. If he opts to maintain permanent resident status (more commonly known as obtaining a "green card"), he won't be under any obligation to renounce his royal titles and could still live in the U.S. indefinitely.

For more stories like this, including celebrity news, beauty and fashion advice, savvy political commentary, and fascinating features, sign up for the Marie Claire newsletter.

subscribe here


The Duke & Duchess Of Sussex Visit South Africa

(Image credit: Pool/Samir Hussein)
Weekend Editor at Cosmopolitan

Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with over 10 years of professional experience covering entertainment of all genres, from new movie and TV releases to nostalgia, and celebrity news. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.