Even though Prince William and Kate Middleton are parents, technically they don’t have custody of Princess Charlotte or Princes George and Louis. Yep, that’s right. The royal couple, and parents to those three royally adorable kiddos, don’t have actualy legal custody of their children.

So how can this be? We were all there when Kate went into the hospital and emerged with babies one, baby two and baby three. Okay so maybe we weren’t “there,” but there was certainly enough media coverage to make us feel like we were.

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According to reports (and history buffs), a 300-year-old royal rule grants legal custody of minor grandchildren to the king or queen in charge. It’s iffy whether the Queen actually has custody of William and Kate’s three children, as she’s their great-grandmother. When Prince Charles becomes the King, then he’ll have custody of his grandchildren—and if Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have kids, Charles would have custody of them, too.

Even though this is a centuries-old rule, the modern monarchy still follow it—in some ways. When Prince William and Prince Harry were younger (and technically under the custody of their grandmother), the Queen had to grant permission for them to travel. The rule is also the reason why custody agreements are not necessary in the event of a royal divorce.

So yes, the ruling British monarch has custody of her or his grandkids. But don’t look for the Queen to start taking over preschool drop-offs or attending playdates any time soon!

—Erica Loop

Featured Photo: Kensington Royal via Instagram

 

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