Meghan Markle title: The royal scandal behind Meghan’s Duchess of Sussex title

Royal fans were delighted when Prince Harry announced his engagement to US actress Meghan Markle back in November 2017.

The couple tied the knot at St George’s Chapel in May 2018, and the pair were given new titles by the Queen.

Although the couple are no longer senior royals after stepping down earlier this year, both Meghan and Harry can continue to use their Duke and Duchess titles in the future.

The Queen often bestows new royal titles upon family members when they get married.

As Prince William became Duke of Cambridge when he married in 2011, it was only fitting Prince Harry received a new title on his wedding day too.

Prince Harry was given the unusual title of Duke of Sussex, a royal title which has only been used on one other occasion.

Subsequently, Harry’s new wife would become known as Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.

A statement from the Palace read: “The Queen has today been pleased to confer a Dukedom on Prince Henry of Wales.

“His titles will be Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton and Baron Kilkeel.

“Prince Harry thus becomes His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex, and Ms Meghan Markle on marriage will become Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex.”

The Duke of Sussex title was first created in 1801 by King George III.

King George III gave the title to his sixth son, Prince Augustus Frederick, and it became extinct when Augustus died in 1843.

Before he received the Duke of Sussex title, Augustus had been married to Lady Augusta Murray from 1793 and 1794.

However, the marriage ended in annulment, which was incredibly scandalous in the 18th Century, as the marriage had not received approval from the King under the Royal Marriages Act of 1772.

As the pair were not married when Augustus held the Duke of Sussex title, Augusta was not eligible to be Duchess of Sussex.

But when Augustus married again when he held the Duke of Sussex title, his second wife was also not eligible to be known as the Duchess of Sussex either.

Augustus married Lady Cecilia Gore in 1831, a marriage which also did not get the approval of the monarch.

Therefore Cecilia was never considered Augustus’ legitimate wife, and therefore could not attend court or use the title of Duchess of Sussex.

After Augustus’ death, the Duke of Sussex title became extinct.

Although Augustus had two children through his first marriage, the children were considered illegitimate after the marriage was annulled.

Therefore Augustus’ children could not receive the Duke of Sussex title after he died.

The first time the Duke of Sussex title was used again was in 2018, and Prince Harry is now the second person to bear the title.

Due to the scandals of the past, Meghan Markle is also the first woman ever to hold the Duchess of Sussex title in British history.

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