Why pre-nups are unlikely in the Royal Family
Prince Charles and Diana, the Princess of Wales look their separate ways, during a memorial service on their tour of South Korea on on Wednesday, Dec. 20, 1992. (AP)
Published Monday, April 23, 2018 6:05AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, May 11, 2018 8:54AM EDT
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are reportedly not signing a pre-nuptial agreement before their wedding, keeping alive a trend amongst the British royal family.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also didn't sign a pre-nup before their 2011 wedding, with tabloids suggesting it was never discussed.
The decision comes despite a recent history of divorces in the Royal family, particularly amongst the Prince of Wales and his siblings.
Prince Charles famously got divorced from Diana, Princess of Wales; while Princess Anne divorced Mark Phillips after 19 years of marriage and Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson were divorced after 10 years of marriage. Prince Edward is the Queen's only child to not go through a divorce.
Despite the popularity of pre-nups in North America – particularly amongst Hollywood celebrities – the concept isn't as widespread in the United Kingdom. A survey conducted by Seddons and the Marriage Foundation found many in the U.K. had never considered signing a pre-nup.
"In a nationwide survey of over 2,000 adults, undertaken by Populus, just 2% of the married respondents had entered into a pre-nup before getting married, with the vast majority (95%) never even discussing a pre-nup as an option," says the study released by Seddons.
Pre-nups aren't legally binding in the country, despite discussion from judges about the possibility of changing.
"My own view is that we have now reached the stage in which, if acting with appropriate care and understanding, parties should be allowed to elect the sort of marriage which they want," Lord Nicholas Wilson, a member of the United Kingdom's Supreme Court, said during a presentation to the University of Bristol law club at the University of Bristol.
Pre-nups may not be legally binding, but British courts are increasingly using pre-nuptial agreements to help decide divorce cases, Wilson added.
But royal experts say that having a pre-nuptial agreement would place the Queen and the Royal family in an uncomfortable circumstance.
"There is little history of them (in the U.K.), although this is changing. It is looking at this through an American celebrity lens to expect one," said CTV News Royal Commentator Richard Berthelsen.
The larger issue, Berthelsen says, is that a pre-nuptial agreement would force the Royal Family to map out their assets and list every person they consider part of it. By compiling such a list, it would be in essence forcing the Queen to decide who is royalty and affect the Royal Family's authority in governing within the state.
"It would bind The Queen in determining the Royal Family and who is part of it and that can never be done," he said.