The news of a second child for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex brings with it the likelihood that this baby will be born in the United States of America.
This creates a ‘first’ for a number of reasons and some of them are constitutionally interesting for both the United Kingdom and the United States.
Birth in America will confer citizenship upon the new child, who will also be 8th in Line of Succession to the throne of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, along with 15 other nations, including Canada.
There is precedent for a foreign national becoming a king in Great Britain: in 1714 when Queen Anne died with no living heir, the Elector of Hanover became King George 1st.
Interestingly, the infant could potentially qualify to be both a sovereign, by accession, and also be free to run for the presidency of the United States.
This will be the first significant child to be born to the British Royal Family in the United States.
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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have stepped away from British royal duties, in pursuit of a life that seeks very different goals and achievements. In consequence, they also stepped away from their royal titles and we have come to know them both, in these less deferential times, as plain Harry and Meghan.
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So too, they have chosen that their first child, Archie, should be accorded none of the titles to which his birth entitles him. We could presume that their new child will also carry no title.
That said, the title to which the second child of Harry and Meghan is entitled is the prefix of either ‘The Lord’ or ‘The Lady’ followed by its first then last name. On the accession of Prince Charles to the throne, his younger son’s grandchildren would be raised to the rank of princes and princesses.
But with title or not, the news of this expected child has brought great joy to The Queen. It will be her 10th or 11th great-grandchild depending on whether he or she arrives before or after Zara Tindall’s baby, which is also due in 2021.
At this time of pandemic and worldwide challenge, the news of any birth offers relief from the litany of deaths around the world every day. For the Duchess, who expressed the sadness of losing a child quite recently, this will be a cause for great happiness at this difficult time.