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Old 05-14-2018, 10:00 PM
alphaboi867 alphaboi867 is online now
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Will Meghan Markle be able to hold a British passport after the wedding?

So it looks like Meghan Markle will undergoing the normal naturalization process to obtain British citizenship, which takes several years, instead of there being a private act of parliament naturalizing her (like there was with Prince Phillip). British passports are issued under the royal prerogative (ie the Queen on the advise of her ministers); could she be issued a British passport without holding British nationality? If so are there any plans to do so? It would be strange for a member of the British Royal Family to be traveling on a US passport; especially if it's on office business.
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Old 05-14-2018, 10:41 PM
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Passports are issued under the royal prerogative, but they are only issued to British nationals. There are several different categories of nationality under UK law with differing rights and privileges - none of your tiresome republican egalitarianism for them! - but as matters stand Markle doesn't qualify for any of them, so she won't be getting a British passport just yet.

(Nitpick: I don't think Philip was naturalised by Private Act of Parliament; he applied under the terms of an existing scheme for non-nationals who had served in the UK armed forces. His application may have gone to the top of the pile, though, and it was processed before he married Princess Elizabeth.)
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Old 05-14-2018, 10:57 PM
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British Citizenship by naturalisation is granted by the Home Secretary under the British Nationality Act 1981 and pursuant to Ss6 and Paragraph 2 of the First Schedule of the same, it can be granted to any person at the Home Secretary's complete and absolute discretion.

I suspect Ms Markel will be granted citizenship on the day of her wedding.
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Old 05-14-2018, 11:49 PM
griffin1977 griffin1977 is offline
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Though also British citizenship is not tied to a passport as in the US. The citizens of Hong Kong were illegible for a British passport but not for citizenship or the right to immigrate there.
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Old 05-15-2018, 12:46 AM
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Originally Posted by AK84 View Post
British Citizenship by naturalisation is granted by the Home Secretary under the British Nationality Act 1981 and pursuant to Ss6 and Paragraph 2 of the First Schedule of the same, it can be granted to any person at the Home Secretary's complete and absolute discretion.

I suspect Ms Markel will be granted citizenship on the day of her wedding.
I believe it has already been announced that, no, she will complete the same procedures as anyone else who is naturalised on the basis of their marriage to a British citizen.
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Old 05-15-2018, 12:50 AM
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So when the Duchess of Nosuch undertakes diplomatic trips it will be on a US passport?
They may say whatever, but once she is married and an everyday fact they’ll quietly grant her citizenship.
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Old 05-15-2018, 12:57 AM
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Though also British citizenship is not tied to a passport as in the US. The citizens of Hong Kong were illegible for a British passport but not for citizenship or the right to immigrate there.
British nationality is divided into a number of classes; you've got your British Citizens, your British Overseas Territories Citizens, your British Overseas Citizens, your British Subjects, your British Nationals Overseas and your British Protected Persons. All get passports issued by the UK government and all, when travelling, are entitled to the diplomatic and consular services of the UK, and as a matter of international law all these classes are forms of UK citizenship. But, within the UK, their rights may vary. For example, only British Citizens have an automatic right of abode in the UK.
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Old 05-15-2018, 01:10 AM
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So when the Duchess of Nosuch undertakes diplomatic trips it will be on a US passport?
They may say whatever, but once she is married and an everyday fact they’ll quietly grant her citizenship.
Well, she may or may not undertake "diplomatic trips"; this hasn't traditionally been something done by the wives of younger grandsons of the monarch. So the question of which passport to use may not arise. Or, by the time it does arise, she may have been naturalised by the usual procedures.

Plus I think it's wrong to say that the Home Secretary can grant naturalisation at his "complete and absolute discretion". He does have a power to waive, or treat as fulfilled, some of the statutory conditions, but AFAIK he doesn't have a power to waive them all. In particular an applicant has to have "settled status" for immigration purposes at the date of application (Sch 2 para 1(2)(c)), and the Home Secretary has no power to waive this requirement. And settled status normally takes five years residence to obtain.
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Old 05-15-2018, 01:37 AM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is offline
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The citizenship issue is why Ms Markle isn't referred to as "most trusty and well-beloved" in the Instrument of Consent. That phrasing is reserved for citizens of the Commonwealth realms. So Kate was "trusty and well-beloved" in the Instrument of Consent for her and Wills, but not Meghan.
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Old 05-15-2018, 02:40 AM
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So when the Duchess of Nosuch undertakes diplomatic trips it will be on a US passport?
They may say whatever, but once she is married and an everyday fact they’ll quietly grant her citizenship.
First trip in official capacity - the Invictus games in October in Sydney. There's also apparently a trip to Canada and California being planned

It makes no sense that she would be representing the Royal family if she is not a British citizen. I would expect the Queen to just make her a citizen after the marriage, regardless of what has been said.
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Old 05-15-2018, 02:53 AM
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Representing the family is different from representing the country. Her Most British Majesty may, in consultation with her government, have decided that a message of "paperwork is paperwork is paperwork and royal relatives are subject to the Laws of the Realm like anybody else" was to be preferred.
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Old 05-15-2018, 03:19 AM
Lord Feldon Lord Feldon is offline
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Originally Posted by alphaboi867 View Post
It would be strange for a member of the British Royal Family to be traveling on a US passport; especially if it's on office business.
It wouldn't be the first time that a member of the royal family has traveled officially on a passport not issued by the country they're officially representing. Just about every other month for the past few years, Canada or Australia or New Zealand has brought one of them to France or Belgium for the centenary of a battle, and they will have traveled on foreign (British) passports.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 05-15-2018 at 03:23 AM.
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Old 05-15-2018, 05:57 AM
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On the one hand I'm sure that she will "go through the normal procedure that everyone else does" in applying for citizenship on the basis of marriage, rather than having it granted by fiat. On the other hand - speaking as someone who acquired UK citizenship through just living here a long time - I bet someone else will fill in and check the extensive form (which she will then sign), the form will be couriered to the Home Office where it will immediately go to the front of the queue and approval will be winging its way back within an hour of receipt. I also suspect she won't have to go through the interview process I had to go through to get my UK passport (and I still don't understand why the interview is done at passport application stage rather than citizenship application stage).

So - the normal procedure but much, much faster and with much less scrutiny (understandably so).
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Old 05-15-2018, 06:09 AM
Zakalwe Zakalwe is offline
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Representing the family is different from representing the country. Her Most British Majesty may, in consultation with her government, have decided that a message of "paperwork is paperwork is paperwork and royal relatives are subject to the Laws of the Realm like anybody else" was to be preferred.
This. No need to pitch the anti-Monarchy folks a hanging curveball.

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So - the normal procedure but much, much faster and with much less scrutiny (understandably so).
Actually, in many ways I would say she's been through much MORE scrutiny than you were subjected to...and much of hers happened on the front page of the dailies. It just wasn't done as part of the paperwork.
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Old 05-15-2018, 06:13 AM
Lord Feldon Lord Feldon is offline
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This old passport of Prince Charles lists his nationality as "Prince of the Royal House." Depending on when it was issued, a normal British person's passport would have said "British Subject, Citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies" or "British Citizen."

Am I correct in my assumption that it's not actually a separate legal status under which a passport can be issued, just an effort to make sure that some officious foreigner realizes that it's a Very Important Passport?

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 05-15-2018 at 06:14 AM.
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Old 05-15-2018, 06:16 AM
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Actually, in many ways I would say she's been through much MORE scrutiny than you were subjected to...and much of hers happened on the front page of the dailies. It just wasn't done as part of the paperwork.
Hence the "understandably so". If applying for citizenship involves a lot of scrutiny, marrying into the royal family is a few orders of magnitude more so.

I'm not begrudging her the fast-track process - it would be stupid and needless to make her application sit in the queue, given that as noted she's already pre-vetted. I'm just observing that her "normal process" ain't the normal process.
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Old 05-15-2018, 06:23 AM
Zakalwe Zakalwe is offline
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Hence the "understandably so". If applying for citizenship involves a lot of scrutiny, marrying into the royal family is a few orders of magnitude more so.

I'm not begrudging her the fast-track process - it would be stupid and needless to make her application sit in the queue, given that as noted she's already pre-vetted. I'm just observing that her "normal process" ain't the normal process.
Yeah, sorry. Not enough coffee. My post was intended as an expansion of your, not a refutation. I'm not a British citizen, but if I were, I really don't think I've have a problem if Parliament or HRH just hand-waved Meghan in, but I also understand why they didn't.

Now, for a follow on question, will any children born prior to her citizenship be eligible to the throne?
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Old 05-15-2018, 06:32 AM
Lord Feldon Lord Feldon is offline
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Now, for a follow on question, will any children born prior to her citizenship be eligible to the throne?
Yes. They'll be British (in addition to US citizens), but in any case, that's not a requirement. The Act of Settlement even implicitly allows it by stating that when a foreigner ascends to the throne, that does not obligate England (as it was) to defend the new monarch's other countries (the law put the monarchs of Hanover in line to the throne, and that was added to make clear that England would not be on the hook for Hanover's problems).

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 05-15-2018 at 06:34 AM.
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Old 05-15-2018, 06:46 AM
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They'd be at least seven down the line, though.
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Old 05-15-2018, 06:47 AM
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Now, for a follow on question, will any children born prior to her citizenship be eligible to the throne?
It's an interesting question. The progeny of people born outside of the UK have inherited the throne; Albert, Prince Consort was from Germany, and his great-great-granddaughter currently sits on the throne. However, the notion of birthright citizenship has changed a lot since then. My guess is that they would still be eligible, but I don't know for sure.
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Old 05-15-2018, 07:20 AM
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MikeS, if "having a foreign foreparent" was an obstacle to monarchy, all of Europe would have had to go Republican or Andorra-system* centuries ago. Removing the concept of morganatic marriage has made it easier for our royals to marry someone from their own country; they used to be almost required to fish abroad.


* Two co-monarchs: one is the President of France (elected), the other is the bishop of Seo de Urgel (appointed by a foreign power).

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Old 05-15-2018, 07:27 AM
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From the Act of Settlement in 1701, Edward VIII was the first monarch both of whose parents were born in Britain. Prior to that, every monarch had one, if not two, parents born out of Britain.

Royalty marries foreigners. That's always been the case. It doesn't affect their children's inheritance rights.
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Old 05-15-2018, 07:38 AM
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Will Meghan Markle be able to hold a British passport after the wedding?

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Originally Posted by Sunny Daze View Post
It makes no sense that she would be representing the Royal family if she is not a British citizen. I would expect the Queen to just make her a citizen after the marriage, regardless of what has been said.

And where would the Queen get the legal authority to "just make her a citizen"? British citizenship is entirely a statutory matter, as UDS and AK84 have pointed out. Unless there is a statutory provision giving the Queen the power to grant citizenship on her own, she can't do it.

It's not like honours, which are part of the royal prerogative.

Last edited by Northern Piper; 05-15-2018 at 07:39 AM.
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Old 05-15-2018, 08:01 AM
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Will Meghan Markle be able to hold a British passport after the wedding?

Missed edit window: when saying "Prior to that, every monarch had one, if not two, parents born out of Britain" I was referring to the period between the Act of Settlement in 1701 and Edward VIII's accession in 1936. Before the Act of Settlement, there were monarch who had both parents born in Britain, but it was by no means universal.

I was clumsily trying to make the point that for over two centuries, the monarch had at least one parent born outside of Britain, and it didn't affect their position in the Succession. The only question was if the person was the senior surviving lawful issue of the Electress Sophia. If they were, they became monarch.

Last edited by Northern Piper; 05-15-2018 at 08:02 AM.
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Old 05-15-2018, 08:08 AM
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They'd be at least seven down the line, though.
They better not all pose for a family photo after the ceremony. (King Ralph)
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Old 05-15-2018, 08:39 AM
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I believe it has already been announced that, no, she will complete the same procedures as anyone else who is naturalised on the basis of their marriage to a British citizen.
We should hook her up with Eva Luna. Imagine standing next to her for 6 hours at Lunar House.
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Old 05-15-2018, 09:22 AM
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It makes no sense that she would be representing the Royal family if she is not a British citizen.
The Queen can send whoever the UK government and the inviting government/agency/organisation would accept as her representative. For a start, Governors-General of those Commonwealth countries that still retain the monarchy aren't usually British citizens these days. And of course, she wouldn't be representing the royal family or the UK on her own, or not to begin with - she'd be accompanying him.

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Old 05-15-2018, 10:26 AM
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And when the Queen or members of the Royal Family are here in Canada exercising functions on behalf of the Queen of Canada, they're here on British passports, not Canadian ones.
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Old 05-15-2018, 10:28 AM
Tom Tildrum Tom Tildrum is offline
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It wouldn't be the first time that a member of the royal family has traveled officially on a passport not issued by the country they're officially representing. Just about every other month for the past few years, Canada or Australia or New Zealand has brought one of them to France or Belgium for the centenary of a battle, and they will have traveled on foreign (British) passports.
Speaking very generally here, my understanding is that US law distinguishes among personal passports (issued to any citizen who properly completes the application process), official government passports (issued to government officials in connection with official overseas travel), and diplomatic passports (issued to government officials having recognized diplomatic status). Does the UK do something similar? And do the members of the royal family use any form of official (or otherwise specialized) passport when they travel? I assume that they do not typically have diplomatic status.
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Old 05-15-2018, 10:29 AM
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And when the Queen or members of the Royal Family are here in Canada exercising functions on behalf of the Queen of Canada, they're here on British passports, not Canadian ones.
Good grief Northern Piper, the Queen doesn't have something so mundane as a passport!
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Old 05-15-2018, 10:37 AM
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Old 05-15-2018, 11:10 AM
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We should hook her up with Eva Luna. Imagine standing next to her for 6 hours at Lunar House.
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Old 05-15-2018, 11:30 AM
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And where would the Queen get the legal authority to "just make her a citizen"? British citizenship is entirely a statutory matter, as UDS and AK84 have pointed out. Unless there is a statutory provision giving the Queen the power to grant citizenship on her own, she can't do it.

It's not like honours, which are part of the royal prerogative.
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The Queen can send whoever the UK government and the inviting government/agency/organisation would accept as her representative. For a start, Governors-General of those Commonwealth countries that still retain the monarchy aren't usually British citizens these days. And of course, she wouldn't be representing the royal family or the UK on her own, or not to begin with - she'd be accompanying him.
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And when the Queen or members of the Royal Family are here in Canada exercising functions on behalf of the Queen of Canada, they're here on British passports, not Canadian ones.
Fair enough. I will try to limit my late night posting.
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Old 05-15-2018, 11:36 AM
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From the Act of Settlement in 1701, Edward VIII was the first monarch both of whose parents were born in Britain.
[nitpick]

Not quite. Both of Queen Anne's parents had been born in Britain.

What you presumably meant to say was that Edward VIII was the first among those who had succeeded on the basis of the Act of Settlement. Queen Anne, of course, succeeded after the Act of Settlement had been passed but it hadn't affected her claim to the throne.

[/nitpick]
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Old 05-15-2018, 11:41 AM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is offline
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Will Meghan Markle be able to hold a British passport after the wedding?

Yes, that's it. Dangers of posting too early in the morning! Thought I would post a clarification to my erratum, then thought "No-one except APB will notice anyway."

PS - I have an off-board issue I would really appreciate your thoughts on. If you'd care to make contact by pm or northern.piper@gmail.com, I'd really appreciate it.

Last edited by Northern Piper; 05-15-2018 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 05-15-2018, 12:16 PM
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From the Act of Settlement in 1701, Edward VIII was the first monarch both of whose parents were born in Britain. Prior to that, every monarch had one, if not two, parents born out of Britain.

Royalty marries foreigners. That's always been the case. It doesn't affect their children's inheritance rights.
I've just double checked a few. Henry VIII, Henry VII and Richard III all had both parents born in the UK and I suspect most of the rest of them did too.
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Old 05-15-2018, 12:38 PM
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Yes, as mentioned in post 24 I was thinking of post-Act of Settlement. There were monarchs prior to that who had both parents born in England/Britain, but I'm not sure it was "most".
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Old 05-15-2018, 12:51 PM
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Will Meghan Markle be able to hold a British passport after the wedding?

You got me curious, so I started skimming through wiki bios.

Looks like the first English king (post-Conquest) who had both parents born in England was Richard II, son of Edward the Black Prince (born at Woodstock) and Joan of Kent (also born at Woodstock).

After that, Henry IV and Henry V both had their parents born in Britain, but not Henry VI.

Edward IV, Edward V, Richard III, Henry VII, Henry VIII, and Edward VI also did, but not Mary I. Elizabeth I and James I did, but not Charles I, Charles II, James II and William III. Mary II and Anne did.

So the first post-Conquest king of England with both parents born in Britain was Richard II, who ascended the throne in 1377, over 300 years after the Conquest.

Last edited by Northern Piper; 05-15-2018 at 12:55 PM.
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Old 05-15-2018, 12:58 PM
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Quite so. My mistake.
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Old 05-15-2018, 02:06 PM
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You got me curious, so I started skimming through wiki bios.

Looks like the first English king (post-Conquest) who had both parents born in England was Richard II, son of Edward the Black Prince (born at Woodstock) and Joan of Kent (also born at Woodstock).

After that, Henry IV and Henry V both had their parents born in Britain, but not Henry VI.

Edward IV, Edward V, Richard III, Henry VII, Henry VIII, and Edward VI also did, but not Mary I. Elizabeth I and James I did, but not Charles I, Charles II, James II and William III. Mary II and Anne did.

So the first post-Conquest king of England with both parents born in Britain was Richard II, who ascended the throne in 1377, over 300 years after the Conquest.
That's probably more with both parents born in the UK than most people would expect (I'm counting UK, not just England). But yeah, having one parent who's not British has never been remotely an issue.
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Old 05-15-2018, 04:31 PM
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MikeS, if "having a foreign foreparent" was an obstacle to monarchy, all of Europe would have had to go Republican or Andorra-system* centuries ago. Removing the concept of morganatic marriage has made it easier for our royals to marry someone from their own country; they used to be almost required to fish abroad.
Fair enough. My point was not so much "being foreign-born is an obstacle to being monarch" as "there hasn't been a foreign-born person involved in the UK line of succession for quite some time now, and citizenship law has changed substantially since then."

Also, I suppose that HRH could denize Ms. Markle if she was so inclined. The process hasn't been used in over a century, but if you believe Wikipedia it has not been abolished by Parliament.
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Old 05-15-2018, 05:42 PM
Zakalwe Zakalwe is offline
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Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
From the Act of Settlement in 1701, Edward VIII was the first monarch both of whose parents were born in Britain. Prior to that, every monarch had one, if not two, parents born out of Britain.

Royalty marries foreigners. That's always been the case. It doesn't affect their children's inheritance rights.
The question I posed was not related to the particular parent's place of birth. I'm well aware that many royals marry people from other countries. As was noted above, all of Elizabeth's children were born to two English citizen parents (even though Phillip's still had wet ink). If Harry and Meghan have a kid in the next few years, that won't be true of their kids.

Anyway, based on the references above, I considered the question asked and answered.
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Old 05-15-2018, 05:58 PM
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Fair enough. My point was not so much "being foreign-born is an obstacle to being monarch" as "there hasn't been a foreign-born person involved in the UK line of succession for quite some time now, and citizenship law has changed substantially since then."
And then, of course, I read Zakalwe's post and realize that Prince Philip was born outside the UK. Guess I need to study my royals more carefully.
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Old 05-15-2018, 07:20 PM
alphaboi867 alphaboi867 is online now
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And where would the Queen get the legal authority to "just make her a citizen"? British citizenship is entirely a statutory matter, as UDS and AK84 have pointed out. Unless there is a statutory provision giving the Queen the power to grant citizenship on her own, she can't do it.

It's not like honours, which are part of the royal prerogative.
But issuing passports is part of the royal prerogative; is there an actual statute law restricting the issuance of British passports to individuals with British nationality or citizenship?
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Old 05-15-2018, 07:47 PM
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Issues passports to citizens is an aspect of the Royal Prerogative. Since the passport states that the bearer is a citizen, and since the award of citizenship is regulated by statute, if there ever was a royal prerogative of issuing passports to non-citizens (thereby naturalising them) I doubt that it survives.
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Old 05-15-2018, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Lord Feldon View Post
This old passport of Prince Charles lists his nationality as "Prince of the Royal House." Depending on when it was issued, a normal British person's passport would have said "British Subject, Citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies" or "British Citizen."

Am I correct in my assumption that it's not actually a separate legal status under which a passport can be issued, just an effort to make sure that some officious foreigner realizes that it's a Very Important Passport?
I think the old Prince Charles passport you have there was issued under the former nationality law, in which one of the ways of qualifying for British subject status was by being a descendant of Sophia, Electress of Hannover. Thus "Prince of the Royal House" is a statement that Charlie is such a descendant and, therefore, a British Subject.

I imagine his current passport shows his nationality status as "British Citizen".
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Old 05-15-2018, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Gyrate View Post
On the one hand I'm sure that she will "go through the normal procedure that everyone else does" in applying for citizenship on the basis of marriage, rather than having it granted by fiat. On the other hand - speaking as someone who acquired UK citizenship through just living here a long time - I bet someone else will fill in and check the extensive form (which she will then sign), the form will be couriered to the Home Office where it will immediately go to the front of the queue and approval will be winging its way back within an hour of receipt. I also suspect she won't have to go through the interview process I had to go through to get my UK passport (and I still don't understand why the interview is done at passport application stage rather than citizenship application stage).

So - the normal procedure but much, much faster and with much less scrutiny (understandably so).
No doubt. But if, on the much faster application of the normal procedure, she is found not to satisfy some of the statutory conditions as to, e.g., period of residency or having acquired settled status, and if those are conditions which there is no power to waive, the outcome will be a much-faster-than-usual rejection of her application for naturalisation.
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Old 05-15-2018, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by alphaboi867 View Post
But issuing passports is part of the royal prerogative; is there an actual statute law restricting the issuance of British passports to individuals with British nationality or citizenship?
But the purpose of passports is to indicate the Queen's protection for citizens, which is determined by law. Her Majesty can't extend Britain's protection unilaterally over people that are not citizens.

That's how it works in Canada as well. Citizenship is defined by statute; passports are issued under the prerogative, but only to people who have a statutory right to Canada's protection internationally.
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Old 05-15-2018, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Tildrum View Post
Speaking very generally here, my understanding is that US law distinguishes among personal passports (issued to any citizen who properly completes the application process), official government passports (issued to government officials in connection with official overseas travel), and diplomatic passports (issued to government officials having recognized diplomatic status). Does the UK do something similar? And do the members of the royal family use any form of official (or otherwise specialized) passport when they travel? I assume that they do not typically have diplomatic status.
Why wouldn't they have diplomatic status, if they're travelling on state business - which can be a big part of what they do, not in the sense of meeting with government officials in the country they're visiting, but helping to maintain cordial relations with the country?
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Old 05-15-2018, 10:24 PM
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Why wouldn't they have diplomatic status, if they're travelling on state business - which can be a big part of what they do, not in the sense of meeting with government officials in the country they're visiting, but helping to maintain cordial relations with the country?
You have diplomatic status if you are nominated for it by your own government (the "sending state"), and accorded it by the state to which you are accredited (the "host state"). Professional diplomats will be issued with diplomatic passports, which will get them special handling and immunities not only in the host state, but in practice also in third states through which they may travel. But note this only works because holidng a diplomatic passport does identify you as an accredited diplomat.

Heads of state or more junior government officials visiting other countries on official business do so as officials, not as diplomats, and they don't normally get diplomatic passports. In practice, a government could issue them with diplomatic passports, but the "currency" of Teapotistan's diplomatic passports will tend to be devalued if it becomes known that Teapotistan issues them to non-diplomats as "perks of the job", so to speak. Another state doesn't have to accord you diplomatic immunity just because you are carrying a diplomatic passport; it only has to do so if you are, in fact, a diplomat, and diplomatic passports cease to be useful if they aren't a useful or reliable indicator of diplomatic status. Some countries, inc. the US, issue "official passports" to government officials whose duties include foreign travel. These might get you special handling but that's a matter of courtesy; they have no legal significance.

Heads of state never travel as diplomats, or on diplomatic passports. They have sovereign immunity, and to do something that seems to assert a claim to diplomatic immunity might imply a repudiation of any claim to sovereign immunity.

Earlier in the thread we had an image posted of a passport issued to the Prince of Wales. It was not a diplomatic passport. (If it had been, the wording of the request on the left-hand page would have been different.)
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