In May, Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, married Meghan Markle, former star of the TV show ‘Suits.’ As American citizens, this doesn’t really concern us. But as family law attorneys who are also “experts” on celebrity divorces, predicting the future of the newlywed royal couple is par for the course.
We’re not just being nosy. We’re mostly concerned about what would happen if they were to divorce.
First things first: Did they get a prenup?
The moment Meghan rode the horse-drawn carriage that took her and Prince Harry around Windsor, her life as a normal citizen as she knew it, was over. But if she and he were to divorce, determining whether she’d live like a normal citizen post-divorce depends on the terms of their prenuptial agreement...
...which does not exist, for two reasons:
1. They didn’t want to.
2. Members of the British royal family usually don’t get one.
When you’re worth millions, it’s wise to get a prenup, which is especially true for celebrities who are known for their 72-hour marriages. Some say discussing prenup is a romance killer, but couples ought to know that marriage is both a romantic and a financial partnership.
And if there’s one crucial lesson to be learned from multi-millionaires who did not get a prenup and ended up divorcing their spouse, it’s that you end up rewarding your ex with a boatload of cash and more.
Is a prenup necessary for royals?
Just so we’re clear, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex aren’t just celebrities, they’re members of the royal family, too. And according to at least one “royal expert,” there’s a huge difference between the two.
But if you really must know why royal couples tend to forego prenups, you could try asking the Queen of England herself, whose three out of four children have been divorced -- none of whom signed a prenup. You’d think Harry would learn from his parents’ and forebears’ examples, but no.
So what would happen if the Duke and Duchess got royally divorced?
Meghan would take home a huge settlement, plain and simple.
The two could probably weather any marital storm that comes their way, but considering that 67% of second marriages end up in divorce (this is Meghan’s second marriage), it’s not pessimistic to predict a future where their ‘amicable separation’ makes the headlines for weeks. With the exception of TMZ, no one enjoys seeing marriages fail, but divorce statistics don’t lie.
In this union, there’s a lot at stake for the English Prince. And based on what we know, any of the following could happen:
1. Meghan would get a portion of his wealth reportedly around $40-50 million, comprising his inheritance from his late mother and the Queen Mother, and salary from his former stint as Captain of the British Army. Because Megan is worth much less than her husband, she would surely get a favorable settlement in case they split.
2. Negotiations would happen outside of court, with Meghan getting a financial settlement, royal security protection, and a new title. She might even reclaim her right to create a new Instagram and a lifestyle blog.
3. Family law attorneys who are adamant that a prenup is indispensable in high-profile marriages would be proven right.
Harry and Meghan were said to have broken royal traditions by holding hands during the ceremony. That’s sweet, but should they separate, they’ll be bound by the basic principles of divorce laws: Assets will be split 50:50, and judges will most likely decide what’s best for their (future) children.
There’s nothing like knowing your financial obligations in case of divorce, whether you plan to marry a prince/princess or a commoner. Ask divorce lawyers Buckingham, LaGrandeur & Williams about the division of matrimonial assets, child custody, and other relevant matters -- just call our Renton offices.