First comes love, then comes … a prenup? Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are set to be wed next spring and despite his royal worth, it’s unlikely there will be a prenuptial agreement in place, U.K.-based family law attorney Julian Hawkhead told Us Weekly.
“No I don’t think they will,” Hawkhead told Us. “If there was any drive to do so it would have come from the senior members of the royal family. There has been absolutely no such direction to do this and in fact, I’m reminded of when Prince William and Kate Middleton were engaged to be married, the Palace made it quite clear that they had no expectation that there should be any such prenuptial arrangement made. The precedent has therefore been set by Harry’s father and brother, neither having entered in prenuptial agreements before they married.”
Hawkhead further explained that prenups are not as common in England as they are in the United States: “They do not have the same weight as the Hollywood prenups and divorces you may read about all the time nor will they include penalty clauses for bad behavior. The English courts rarely consider the behavior of the parties as relevant when dividing up assets.”
Stowe Family Law’s Senior Partner also told Us what the former Suits actress would be entitled to if the pair did get a divorce.
“I think it is very unlikely that Meghan would get as much as half,” Hawkhead said. “Her financial claims would increase over the years though not through any formula or incrementally year by year, but one would expect a wife in Meghan’s position to have greater financial claims after a 10-year marriage than after a two-year marriage.”
“Princess Diana reportedly received a financial settlement of £17 million (worth over $20 million today) following a marriage of some 15 years,” Hawkhead said. “This will however have reflected the extent of Prince Charles’ personal wealth, the very high standard of living she had enjoyed and the fact that she had two young children. The settlement will have been based on a calculation of Princess Diana’s lifelong financial needs.”
Us also asked Hawkhead if Markle would get any of the royal family heirlooms, including her engagement ring that includes diamonds from Harry’s late mother’s brooch, in the event of a split.
“I would expect that Princess Diana’s jewels may be owned by a Trust and that the diamonds in Meghan’s ring might not therefore belong to Meghan, even though Prince Harry has given the ring to her on their engagement,” Hawkhead said. “There is a presumption in English law that the gift of an engagement ring is unconditional unless it was made clear that it was only conditional on the marriage going ahead. If any items now belong to Harry then he is free to give them to Meghan and they would be hers to keep even in the event of divorce although their value would be taken into account when dividing up assets and working out how much Meghan would have.”
As previously reported, royal palace officials announced Harry and Markle’s engagement on Monday, November 27. The pair is set to wed at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in England in May 2018.
Reporting by Travis Cronin
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