When Will Meghan Markle Receive Royal Orders Like Kate Middleton? Why It May Not Happen Until She's a U.K. Citizen

Prince William's wife, Kate Middleton—otherwise known as Katherine, Duchess of Cambridge—was given an official royal Order by Queen Elizabeth on the couple's eight-year anniversary on Monday. She was given a high title rank, Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order. She's now in the company of dignitaries like knights and dames, including Prince Andrew, Prince Edward and Prince Charles' wife, Camilla.

While it took Middleton eight years to receive the title, there's a possibility her sister-in-law, Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, will have to wait even longer.

Nearing the one-year anniversary of her marriage to Prince Harry—and the due date of the couple's first child—Markle still isn't a U.K. citizen. Although she may be eligible to receive an honorary Knight's title if the queen one day chooses, the former U.S. resident may have to wait to receive full British status before she's granted a title in the RVO.

"Meghan will probably not receive any Orders until she becomes a U.K. citizen. Foreigners, including former U.S. presidents, received honorary knighthoods," royal expert and author Marlene Koenig said in a tweet on Monday. "She probably won't receive her first order until after Charles is King."

Koenig, a royal researcher and author of Queen Victoria's Descendants, noted the RVO was an honor given to many "diplomats, private secretaries, & other senior staff, Governor Generals, etc." However, it's an accreditation that Elizabeth only hands out limitedly and at her discretion. Only three people received Orders in 2017—Lord Samuel Vetsey, Lieutenant Colonel Sir Andrew Ford and Sir Stephen Lamport—while Lord Christopher Geidt was the only person given an Order in 2017.

The queen has given former U.S. presidents and other officials honorary knighthoods in the past.

Not to mention, official Orders take quite some time to get as it is not common for spouses to receive Orders soon after marriage. For instance, Elizabeth's husband Prince Phillip wasn't made a Knight Grand Cross until 2017 during celebrations for the couple's 70th wedding anniversary.

The RVO was first established by Queen Vitoria in 1896. The group was created to help the queen recognize people who have serviced her. Members are handpicked specifically by the ruling monarch.

The highest title, Grand Master of the Order, first belonged to the Queen Mother when it was established in 1937. Following her death, Elizabeth gave her daughter Princess Anne the position in 2007.

Markle's husband, Prince Harry, was officiated as Knight Commander in 2015.

Updated Monday, May 13 at 10:58 a.m. ET: This story was updated to say Markle may only get Orders at the Queen's discretion, although former U.S. presidents and officials have received honorary knighthoods in the past. It is uncommon for royal spouses to receive Orders from the queen soon after marriage.

When Will Meghan Markle Receive Royal Orders Like Kate Middleton? Why It May Not Happen Until She's a U.K. Citizen | Culture