Baby Archie has been living with parents Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Los Angeles since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced they would take a break from royal life. Harry and Meghan have signalled they are planning to settle in the US rather than return to the UK despite retaining their Berkshire home on the Windsor Castle estate, Frogmore Cottage. Royal expert Lady Colin Campbell suggested having Archie take residence in the US could cause him issues should he and Meghan decide to go their separate ways in the future.
In her webcast Chatting with Lady C, the royal commentator said: “If anybody’s marital home is in England and they get divorced or separated, the child is required to remain in England until it is 18 save by the consent of the parties concerned.
“The same applies in America, in France, in any of the tremendous numbers of countries who are signatories to the Hague Convention.
“That means that once Meghan moved Harry and the baby to America, if they set up operations in America, and there is a separation and/or divorce, unless Meghan agrees to the baby coming back to live in England, the baby is trapped in America until he is 18.”
Lady Campbell added: “The Hague Convention trumps everything else.”
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The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction was created in 1980 to address a gap in international law in regards to the prompt return of children taken abroad from one parent without the consent of the other parent.
The convention requires a separated parent to secure the permission of their former partner to relocate a child from their habitual country of residence to another one.
Should the Duke and Duchess of Sussex settle down in the US indefinitely, and should they later separate, Meghan Markle would have to grant her permission to Prince Harry to take Archie to live in the UK.
The US is a signatory to the Convention as is the UK and Washington is committed to ensuring parents see their visitation and custodial rights recognised in the child’s country of habitual residence before a claim under the convention is made.
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“You can apply through the Convention to establish or enforce your access/visitation rights to your children living in other partner countries.”
But despite speculation of a future break, Meghan and Harry’s relationship is “stronger than ever” since the pair stepped down from their working royals roles, a source close to the couple has claimed.
The source told ET the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have seen the quarantine as a blessing as they have been able to spend time with each other and their son without any distraction.
The insider said: “It’s a bit ironic because one of the things that were making Meghan unhappy about living in the U.K. was that she felt isolated and she missed her friends.
“But now she’s back in the U.S., which is what she wanted, but is isolated and can’t see her friends.”