Family

Prince William and Kate Middleton *Technically* Don't Have Full Custody of Their Own Children

Uh, what? Here's who actually has custody of Prince William and Kate Middleton's little ones, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.

Why is everyone talking about who has custody of Prince William and Kate Middleton's kids? Wouldn’t that obviously be Prince William and Kate Middleton? Well, actually, no, it’s not so simple.

Turns out, the royal couple technically shares a custody arrangement with Queen Elizabeth. According to royal historian and expert Marlene Koenig, "The sovereign has legal custody of the minor grandchildren," she tells Elle. That would naturally include George, 5, Charlotte, 3, and Louis, 6 months.

Breaking it down:

An old British law from the 1700s had declared that King George I was the guardian of his son’s grandchildren, and technically it has remained that way (on paper) throughout history.

“This goes back to King George I [who ruled in the early 1700s], and the law’s never been changed," Koenig explains. "He did it because he had a very poor relationship with his son, the future King George II, so they had this law passed that meant the King was the guardian of his grandchildren. That law was passed in 1717 and hasn't been changed by new legislation."

"That means the Queen does have say in decisions regarding George, Charlotte, and Louis's education, upbringing, and traveling," she notes.

The ancient law trickles down to the Queen, who “has the last word in the custody upbringing, education and even the right of abode of the princes, even during the lifetime of their father, Prince Charles. As for their mother, the Princess of Wales, her say is a matter of discretion and negotiation.”

While it’s highly unlikely the Queen mum would fight for physical custody of her grandchildren (why on earth?!), she technically shares custody with William and Kate — and will do the same with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle when they have their baby.

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Kate Middleton Meghan Markle Prince Harry Prince William The Queen of England Family Royals

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