Neither Kate Nor William Has Custody Of Their Own Kids — What Happens If They Divorce?

A law that's hundreds of years old could determine what happens to their children.

William and Kate and their 3 children Featureflash Photo Agency /Pete Hancock / Canva Pro

Rumors continue to swirl about Kate Middleton and why exactly she hasn’t been seen in public since Christmas Day. Did she really have surgery, or some other medical issue that arose? Are she and Prince William having marital problems? Anyone who knows isn’t saying.

One of the prevailing theories as of late is that Kate and William may be headed for divorce. The press has been giving particular attention to the rumor that Prince William is having an affair with Lady Rose Hanbury. While there is no evidence to substantiate these claims, they have become a sticking point for people convinced William and Kate’s marriage is in trouble.


As people debate just what is going on with Princess Kate, many have begun to wonder what would happen if a divorce were to occur. One TikToker made sure he cleared up some false information about the custody of William and Kate’s children.

William and Kate do not have custody of their own children.

TikTok creator Kyle Orky responded to a comment from a viewer of one of his videos that said, “She can’t get custody of them. It’s in the prenup.”



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“Uh, British monarchy fun fact,” he shared. “Um, Kate, nor William for that matter, have legal custody of their kids.”

Instead, Orky explained that custody lies with whoever is on the throne. “Um, the monarch does. The sitting monarch has … legal custody of all of their grandchildren,” he said. “So, they get the final say in all, uh, legal decisions, specifically, like, travel and where they live.” spoke to royal family expert Marlene Koenig about the centuries-old law that gives monarchs custody of any grandchildren or great-grandchildren. “The sovereign has legal custody of the minor grandchildren,” Koenig said.

What Happens To William & Kate's Kids If They Divorce?Photo: Muhammad Aamir Sumsum / Shutterstock


The law dates back to the 1700s and the reign of King George I, who did not get along with his son. Because of their animosity, the King wished to have more control over his grandchildren than his son did. A panel of judges passed the law.

According to The Sun, Charles and Diana were forced to ask Queen Elizabeth for permission for William and Harry to travel because of the law.

However, Koenig noted that the law is essentially a “formality and nothing more” because of the positive relationships the royal family members have with each other now, and the understanding that each parent seeks to care for their children privately, as they wish to.

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What Happens To William & Kate's Kids If They Divorce?Photo: Mr Pics / Shutterstock

Custody of William and Kate’s children would ultimately be up to the discretion of the sitting monarch.

If Kate and William were to divorce, the fate of their children would be in the hands of their grandfather, King Charles, as long as he remains on the throne. This makes it unclear just how custody would be split in a divorce proceeding.

The Sun pointed out that in Charles and Diana’s and Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson’s divorces, there was no official reference to their children in the legal documentation because they did not have custody of them in the first place.


Because of this, Cheat Sheet speculated, “Middleton would not be allowed to take Prince George, Princess Charlotte or Prince Louis out of the country without approval from the royal family. Because of this rule, there is a good chance that the royals would purchase an apartment or house for Middleton and the children inside the U.K.”

Despite the antiquated child custody law, the best indicator of what could happen to William and Kate's children in the event of a split is to look at other royal divorces.

If the Prince and Princess of Wales were to divorce, it’s not entirely clear what would happen to their three children. The law stating that the monarch holds custody of grandchildren and great-grandchildren is certainly unique.


However, previous examples of what can happen have been seen in Charles and Diana’s and Andrew and Sarah’s divorces. In both cases, the parents were still allowed to access and raise their children. We can only assume the same would happen for William and Kate.

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Mary-Faith Martinez is a writer for YourTango who covers entertainment, news, and human interest topics.