In Depth

Could Meghan Markle become queen... or US president?

Duchess of Sussex might miss out on British throne but is rumoured to have her eyes on the White House

Meghan Markle’s marriage to Prince Harry has been hailed as a watershed moment for the royal family.

The former Suits star’s many admirers say she has brought a breath of fresh air to the Royal Family, making them seem more relevant and modern.

So could the newest royal ever become queen?

If Prince Harry became king, his Los Angeles-born wife would become queen consort, or informally, Queen Meghan.

However, he is sixth in the line to the throne, having been pushed further down by the births of his two nephews and niece.

Harry sits behind his father, Prince Charles, brother Prince William, and William’s three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

As such, Queen Elizabeth and all five of her successors would have to abdicate or die before Harry could become the monarch.

Abdicating is uncommon in Britain, although the Queen’s uncle, Edward VIII, stood down in 1936 after less than a year as king in order to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.

In theory, any of the Queen’s successors could lose their right to sit on the throne if they became, or married, a Roman Catholic, under the Act of Settlement of 1701 - but it is possible this law would not be enforced if the situation arose in the 21st century.

If a monarch became so physically or mentally ill that they were unable to rule, a regent might be put in place to carry out their duties. For example, George IV served as “prince regent” between 1811 and 1820 after his father, George III, was deemed mentally incapable.

But with five family members ahead of him, three of whom are around 30 years his junior, it seems doubtful that Prince Harry will sit on the throne.

No matter for Meghan, who apparently has an even greater ambition: if the Daily Mail is to be believed, she has her eyes set on the White House.

An anonymous “former close associate” told the newspaper: “Meghan was quite clear that she wanted to be president one day.”

The conversation is said to have taken place shortly after her relationship with Prince Harry began.

“It may sound fanciful, but the new Duchess of Sussex has held the ambition since she was a little girl,” says the newspaper, noting that she told Piers Morgan as much in an interview in 2015.

If she were to turn her hand to politics, Prince Harry might have to give up his official royal duties, as members of the Royal Family are expected to stay out of the political sphere.

While California-born Meghan could technically become president, a Kensington Palace representative was quick to dismiss the ambition, telling Yahoo News that there's no truth to the speculation, adding that “the conversation you describe with an associate is fictitious.”

However, Simon Jenkins says in The Guardian: “Her friends and associates affirm that she is a political animal”.

“All I can say is, why not? I fervently hope this marriage succeeds – on either side of the Atlantic. And if they can put an American in Kensington Palace, surely we can put a Briton in the White House.”

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