While finding out that Meghan Markle was pregnant was highly anticipated, it admittedly wasn’t a massive surprise. Prince Harry and Markle made clear that children were on their radar. Even before the royal love birds wed, they’d discussed their plans to have children in their first joint interview with BBC News. While the prince admitted they want to take "one step at a time," he was hopeful that they would "start a family in the near future." Well, that day finally came and not only are the parents-to-be surely rejoicing, but royal fans around the world are, too.
The decision to have children is a weighty one whether you are a member of royalty or not, but there’s certainly added pressure that comes with being an heir to the British throne. Growing up royal makes for an unusual childhood, as Harry undoubtedly knows, and there are some things the couple’s future children will never be able to do. Like what? Keep on reading.
Earn these royal titles
Unlike Prince William and Kate Middleton‘s children, Harry and Meghan’s kids will not be referred to as princes or princesses — nor dukes or duchesses. The reason for this dates back to 1917, when King George V issued a little something called the Letters Patent. The document (via Good Housekeeping) states, in part, that "the grandchildren of the sons of any such Sovereign in the direct male line," with the exception of the eldest son of the Prince Of Wales (currently Prince George), "shall have and enjoy in all occasions the style and title enjoyed by the children of Dukes of these Our Realms."
Although Princess Charlotte was later included in 2013 thanks to the Succession to the Crown Act, King George’s decree basically means that any other great-grandchildren through the reigning sovereign’s male line will not have the title of His or Her Royal Highness. So, if Harry and Meghan were to have a son, he would be referred to as Lord, whereas their daughter would be Lady.
Attend public school
Members of the royal family have never attended public, state-funded schools. In fact, even attending private school is somewhat of a new idea for the British elite. Prince Charles was the first heir to the throne who forwent traditional at-home education. Previously, tutors and governesses were hired to educate young royals.
According to Town & Country Magazine, William and Harry became full-time students at Ludgrove School, a boarding school, by the time they were 8 years old. The boys eventually went on to attend high school at Eton College. "They made a big effort to seem like [Harry] was a normal person. Obviously he was from the royal family, but I think the school and all the people there wanted to make him feel included," one former student named Alexander told The Cut, noting that Harry had "normal friends" and attended birthday parties like the other teenagers.
Normalcy is also something William and Kate want for their children. Prince George attends private school, which was revealed by Kensington Palace to be Thomas’s Battersea School, and his dad has walked him into school as any loving father would.
Take part in the usual Christmas traditions
While Christmas traditions vary from family to family, there are some traditions that most everyone who celebrates the holiday seem to follow. It’s common for families to place presents under a Christmas tree and exchange gifts on December 25. But that tradition doesn’t extend to the royal family. According to the royal family’s official site, the royals instead "lay out their presents on trestle tables" and "exchange their gifts at teatime" on Christmas Eve. Each member of the family will also receive a gift from the Queen — but that doesn’t mean Santa is totally off the hook.
While in Finland in 2017, Prince William presented Santa with a wishlist from his son George. Hello! magazine shared a close-up photo of the list on which a typed sentence read: "Dear Father Christmas this year I have been naughty/nice." As you can imagine, the young prince circled "nice." Although there were enough spaces on the worksheet to ask for five presents, George kept it simple and asked for just one thing: a race car.
Wear anything but shorts and dresses
When Harry and Meghan have children, you can expect them to follow the same dress code as their royal cousins. And, we have to be honest, it’s a pretty odd custom. Etiquette expert Grant Harrold, aka "The Royal Butler," explained the royal family’s 16th century tradition to BBC News, saying young boys of the time wore "gowns or dresses until the age of eight, if not before." These days, that has changed. With the exception of a christening gown, boys in the royal family now wear shorts most days.
Just as the boys stick to shorts, royal girls wear dresses instead of trousers. "If you look at photos of young royal girls — from Princess Anne to Charlotte, you will notice that they tend to wear smocked dresses as little girls when they are in public with their parents," royal expert Marlene Koenig told Harper’s Bazaar. While the expert says there’s no official rule prohibiting pants, girls around Charlotte’s age often sport dresses.
Play this ‘vicious’ board game
Harry and Meghan’s kids may be allowed to play Hungry Hungry Hippo and Chutes and Ladders, but there’s one board game that is completely off limits for royals: Monopoly.
When Prince Andrew visited the Leeds Building Society to have lunch and check out their refurbished headquarters, he was gifted the popular game. According to The Telegraph, the prince revealed, "We’re not allowed to play Monopoly at home. It gets too vicious."
As it turns out, the Queen of England isn’t actually wrong in banning the board game. Monopoly can get ugly. So ugly, in fact, that the board game maker Hasbro announced the creation of a special hotline over the Christmas holiday in 2016. Craig Wilkins, Marketing Director of Hasbro UK and Ireland, told The Telegraph, "We’ll have experts on hand with the official rulebooks to instantly settle any disputes, and advice on how to resolve common complaints, with each person also having the opportunity to make a donation to Childline when they call." True story.
When Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s kids are eventually old enough to own cellphones, there are going to be some restrictions. For one, the Queen better not catch her great-grandkids taking selfies. In November 2017, royal expert Victoria Murphy revealed in a tweet, "Meghan is learning the royal ropes already, telling one couple who asked for a selfie in Nottingham today: ‘We’re not allowed to do selfies.’"
Matthew Barzun, a United States ambassador, told Tatler Magazine (via The Telegraph) that Her Majesty just thinks it’s "strange" to see nothing but cellphones aimed at her during public engagements. "She was essentially saying: ‘I miss eye contact,’" he told the publication.
Ahead of William and Kate’s royal tour in 2016, an etiquette guide published by the Canadian Department of Heritage explained (via Royal Events: Rituals, Innovations, Meanings), "Turning your back to the Duke and Duchess and taking a selfie is discouraged if at all possible. I know it’s fun to do, but they would much rather see your face."
Sit with their parents during dinner
Former royal chef Darren McGrady dished to Hello! magazine about some of the royal family’s eating habits. For Christmas one year, he said, "We did three turkeys for the Queen and her family in the royal dining room, one for the children’s nursery and then more for the 100 or so staff, so everyone had a Christmas lunch." Wait, one turkey for the kids’ nursery?
McGrady further explained, "The children always ate in the nursery until they were old enough to conduct themselves properly at the dining table." Yikes! The chef said it was all very "Victorian." Instead of being seated in highchairs or beside their parents, nannies fed the little ones separately.
Harper’s Bazaar echoed this sentiment, writing that royal children "are reportedly not allowed to sit with adults" until they’ve mastered the "art of polite conversation." If this is still the case in the royal household, the same rules will likely extend to Harry and Meghan’s children.
Eat this pungent food
In addition to dining separately from their parents, Harry and Meghan’s little ones will be prohibited from eating certain kinds of food. It was long rumored that Queen Elizabeth II was not a fan of garlic, and thus she banned the family from eating it. While it sounds hard to believe, Camilla Parker-Bowles, Duchess of Cornwall, cleared matters up on MasterChef Australia. "I hate to say this, but garlic," the duchess confessed (via Us Weekly), "Garlic is a no-no." When Gary Mehigan, one of the show’s judges asked, "Because you’re talking, chatting?" Camilla replied, "Yes, exactly. So you always have to lay off the garlic."
Back in 2000, BBC News revealed that the Queen had also banned "shellfish, rare meat, foreign water and any food that is too spicy or exotic." Though, in more recent years, William revealed that he loves sushi and even Prince Charles has been photographed throwing back an oyster. While Meghan and Harry’s kids may indeed be able to eat shellfish when they’re old enough, it seems garlic is always going to be, as Camilla said, a "no-no."
Travel anywhere without security
Unfortunately for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s kids, there’s going to be no such thing as privacy or a life without security — and for good reason. At the age of four, Prince George’s life was threatened. Since then, TMZ reported that George’s school "will have beefed-up security." The young prince will also be escorted by additional officers.
And, on the surface, William taking his son to school seems so uncomplicated, but even just driving there is a "security and logistical nightmare," according to Metro. "He will have his permanent royalty protection team with him," former royal protection officer Simon Morgan explained. "There will be a wider policing plan in relation to what extra resources would be required should they have any issues." Morgan also revealed that routes would need to be changed frequently and traffic would have to be avoided so the young royal does not remain in one place for too long. And, on top of everything else, he also needs to get to school on time.
You can bet that, as soon as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle become parents, security will be at their beck and call.