When Price Harry and Meghan Markle wed in May of last year, they probably didn’t sign a prenuptial agreement. It was speculated, even expected, that they would sign such an agreement due to their high net worth.
Signing a prenuptial agreement is common in the United States and largely considered one of the most effective ways to protect one’s assets. However, the practice is not common among members of the British royal family – or the UK in general.
Prenuptial agreements are not popular with the British, and they can’t be legally enforced in UK courts.
Prince Harry and Meghan each have substantial bank accounts. Harry’s wealth comes primarily from a trust left to him by his late mother, Princess Diana. Meghan’s wealth comes primarily from her acting career and starring role in the successful television show Suits.
Meghan is estimated to have a net worth of $5 million, while Harry’s wealth is estimated to be at $40 million.
According to Erlich Law Office, LLC, a prenuptial agreement can outline how property, income and assets will be handled in the event of divorce, separation or the death of a spouse. It would make sense for Harry and Meghan to sign a prenup, but in the event of a divorce, Harry’s wealth has an extra layer of protection.
Money in trusts are treated differently in a divorce in the UK, and those funds may not be eligible for division. Much of Harry’s money is kept in trusts.
The couple’s official home is to be at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, which was gifted from Queen Elizabeth. The actual ownership of the cottage likely rests with the Queen herself. When decorating the home, the couple will draw from the Royal Collection for their pictures and furnishings.
Still, despite these protections, it’s surprising that extra steps were not taken to protect the wealth of each party. Prince Harry was advised to sign a prenuptial agreement despite it not being popular in Britain.
Prince Harry’s own parents divorced, and Princess Diana received a $22.5 million lump sum as part of the divorce.
With that said, most of the wealth and properties enjoyed by royal family members belong to the Queen. Because the wealth and properties do not actually belong to Harry, there’s little worry of it being divided in a divorce.
In the event that Prince Harry and Meghan divorce, the majority of the negotiations would take place outside of the courts.