Who Was Duchess of Sussex Before Meghan Markle?

We already know there was one Duke of Sussex before Prince Harry, but what about Meghan Markle’s predecessor? You might be surprised to learn there wasn’t one.

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As it turns out, Markle is the first Duchess of Sussex in history. Although the royal was given the title in 2018, it didn’t exist prior to her wedding day.

This might confuse some people, considering Prince Harry wasn’t the first Duke of Sussex. The title was originally given to Prince Augustus Frederick, who is the son of King George III and Queen Charlotte. The name went into (temporary) extinction after his death in 1843. Augustus and his ex-wife, Lady Augusta Murray, annulled their marriage before he inherited the title, so there was no need for a Duchess of Sussex…until now.

When Queen Elizabeth chose the Sussex title for Prince Harry, the duchess variation automatically went to Meghan. Since it’s very common for royal families to recycle official titles, the monarch likely chose the name due to its historical significance (and excessive time spent in retirement).

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In case you’re wondering, the Sussex title first originated in 827 in the Kingdom of Sussex, an Anglo-Saxon empire that was controlled by the Kingdom of England. The word “Sussex” was often used to describe ealdormen, aka someone with a high status. The term means “duces” in Latin, which is sometimes translated to “dukes.”

The more you know.

Greta Heggeness

Senior Editor

Greta Heggeness is a California-based editor at PureWow and has been writing about entertainment since 2015. She covers everything from awards shows to exclusive celebrity...
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