Will Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s children, should they have them, be American citizens? Could their children become president someday? It’s possible, but it depends on what Meghan decides to do and when she and Harry had children.
Prince Harry is British and Meghan Markle is American-born. Harry has indicated that he wants kids, saying in 2012, “I’ve longed for kids since I was very, very young. I’m waiting to find the right person. Someone who is willing to take on the job.” Harry told the BBC: “Of course, one step at a time and hopefully we’ll start a family in the near future.” Meghan didn’t seem to disagree.
It’s not certain that the couple’s children would be American, though, and here’s why. “Markle is a U.S. citizen but would likely renounce her citizenship — as only British citizens can have royal titles — which means her children would not be U.S. citizens,” according to Syracuse.com.
Some people have found humor in the possibility that the future children could be Americans and, thus, president someday – theoretically. “Prince Harry’s kids will be Americans. What if one grows up to be president and is in line for the throne at the same time? Brits are playing long-ball here, but it’s a smart move. They want America back and this is how they’ll do it,” wrote Twitchy editor Greg Pollowitz on Twitter. Or maybe it’s the opposite?
The question is whether Meghan would renounce her American citizenship before the baby’s birth. If the baby was born when she was still an American citizen, the baby would also be an American citizen (as well as British, due to Harry’s lineage). Thus, yes, it’s definitely possible.
Could the child become American president? Although that requires one to be a natural born citizen, children born overseas to American citizens are U.S. citizens.
According to the New York Times, the Royal Family has confirmed that Meghan intends to become a British citizen. The process to become one could take years, though, and it’s not yet clear whether she will remain an American citizen as well.
The Times notes that one reason Meghan might relinquish her American citizenship is because U.S. tax laws could then apply to the couple if she did not.
The children could renounce their citizenship as adults, which Prince Albert of Monaco did (his mother was the American actress, Princess Grace, who retained her American citizenship, according to The Times.) To become president, the child would also have to reside in the U.S. for 14 years. Incidentally, the first child of Meghan and Harry would be 7th in line to the throne, after Harry, who is 6th (unless Prince William and his wife, Kate, have more children.)
How long does it take to become a UK citizen? It’s fairly complicated, and it takes some time. Meghan is 36-years-old, so if she and Harry want children, they might get started pretty quickly.
“In most cases, applicants should already have obtained UK permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain (ILR). The normal qualifying period to obtain ILR is 5 years. However if one is married to a UK citizen, then the qualifying period is 2 years (this changed to 5 years for spouse applicants after July 2012),” the Commonwealth Immigration website says.
“For those who have obtained ILR through 5 years residence, they are then required to live in the UK for a further 1 year before being eligible to apply for UK citizenship. Those married to UK citizens can apply for citizenship straightaway after securing ILR, without waiting for a further 1 year. However such applicants do need to have been in the UK for 3 years in total before applying.”