Any day now, Prince Harry will be an uncle for the third time when his brother and sister-in-law, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, have their third child, but could he and fiancée Meghan Markle play another role in the royal baby's life as godparents?
It’s possible, explains royal expert Marlene Koenig, but “rather unlikely.”
Harry isn’t godfather to his nephew, George, or his niece, Charlotte. For their first two children, William and Kate chose godparents from their social circle and close connections. As with most royals, George and Charlotte have multiple godparents—George has seven and Charlotte has five.
George’s are the High Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster; the Hon. Julia Samuel, a close friend of Princess Diana’s; Zara Tindall, William’s cousin; William van Cutsem, one of William’s oldest friends; Oliver Baker, a friend who went to St Andrews University with the Duke and Duchess; Emilia Jardine-Paterson, a school friend of Kate’s; and Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, the couple’s private secretary.
Charlotte's include the Hon. Lauren Fellows, a maternal cousin of William’s; Adam Middleton, cousin to Kate; Thomas van Straubenzee, a close friend of William; James Meade, a good friend of Wiliam; and Sophie Carter, a longtime friend of Kate.
Both godparent lists are heavy on friends and light on family and royals—a break from royal tradition.
“This is a definite move away from the more traditional—foreign royals or older relatives, none of who would have a close relationship with their godchild,” Koenig says. The Queen’s godparents, for example were her grandparents along with other relatives.
So it’s possible the couple, who will be married right after the baby is born, could make the cut if William and Kate go back to tradition and pick family, like Harry, Meghan or even Pippa Middleton.
If Harry and Meghan are chosen, the royal baby can look forward to a lifetime of double gifts from aunt and uncle and godparents.
“Godparents are supposed to provide the spiritual guidance to their godchildren, at least for regular folk,” Koenig explains. “But royal godparents have a different role—sometimes at a distance—sending a lovely present for their godchild’s birthday until adulthood, and a nice wedding present.”
Fashion model India Hicks, for example, counts the Prince of Wales as one of her godparents. She told that he is “a remarkable godfather—caring, considerate and involved," and that he gave her a Thomas Goode dish set piece by piece for birthdays and Christmas.