What Does ‘Sussex’ Represent in Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Royal Titles?
Before Prince Harry met Meghan Markle, he was known simply as Prince Harry. But after he married his wife, he was granted a new title: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex. And Meghan is now known as Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. While we tend to say these titles without much thought, it’s easy to wonder: What does “Sussex” actually refer to, and what do Harry and Meghan now have to do with it?
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Duke and Duchess of Sussex | Oli Scarff – WPA Pool/Getty Images
The duke and duchess titles are granted by the queen
In terms of the royal family, royal titles are given in a few ways. You can be born with them (such as Harry being born as a prince). Then, when you marry, you might receive a new title, such as a duke. For Harry, his royal importance played a role in his title of duke. According to Mental Floss, “duke” is the highest peerage in the peerage system, which, for simplicity’s sake, is the system that names royals. Since Harry was a prince and the grandson of the monarch, he was given the title of duke by Queen Elizabeth. The queen also granted him sovereign rule of Sussex, which is why he is Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (and Meghan is the Duchess).
The term ‘Sussex’ refers to the English county of which Harry and Meghan are sovereign rulers
A sovereign is a monarch ruler or anyone with extreme power or authority over something. When Harry and Meghan got married, the queen made them the sovereign rulers of Sussex. Sussex is a county in Southeast England. When certain royals get married, they’re given rule over certain land in the Commonwealth. The land they’re given is determined by the queen. Now that Harry and Meghan are a married couple, they essentially have the ultimate royal authority over the English county of Sussex, hence their titles “Duke and Duchess of Sussex.”
Most of the Duke and Duchess’ income comes from their sovereign rule
The most important aspect of being a Duke and Duchess is that most of the couple’s income comes from the land they rule. Sussex has plenty of real estate, and the revenue surplus generated from that land goes to Harry and Meghan. Property ownership is how the royals make most of their money. An easy example is Prince Charles, who is the Duke of Cornwall. Most of Charles’ net worth, which hovers around $400 million, comes from the revenue surplus he takes in from ruling over Cornwall’s property.
Prince William and Kate Middleton are the sovereign rulers of Cambridge, another English county
Just like Harry and Meghan, Will and Kate were also granted sovereign rule over Commonwealth land when they got married. The queen granted them rule over Cambridge, a county in the Southwest part of England. The way Elizabeth actually determines which land title goes to which family members doesn’t seem to be a clear process. Some suggest she gave Will and Kate Cambridge because their love story sounded similar to the former duke and duchess of the land. But the process for her choosing which land areas to give out remains murky.
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