No doubt you’ve caught wind that Prince Harry is engaged to US actress Meghan Markle. But while the majority of the Western world is basking in (some might say, irrational) enthusiasm for the fact that two strangers are engaged to be married, a portion of the Prince’s own subjects are feeling a little cheated.
Their frustration is based on the fact that the UK’s visa laws prevent anyone earning less than £18,600 (AU$32,834 a year from bringing a spouse from outside the European Economic Area to live with them.
Unsurprisingly, Prince Harry qualifies. But according to The Independent, more than 40 per cent of Brits do not.
The law was implemented to prevent migrants on spousal visas from becoming a “burden on the state”; the theory being that £18,600 (or with fewer than £62,500 in savings) is the minimum income on which their UK-citizen partner could support them.
The measure has been heavily criticised as elitist as it favours a select, privileged portion of the population.
“The Royal Wedding is problematic. There, I said it.” (Post continues below.)
Still, despite marrying the fifth inline to the British throne, it’s believed Markle, 36, will not automatically be eligible for British citizenship.
Under the regular spousal visa process for someone who is engaged, the marriage must take place within six months, at which point the spouse can apply for ‘leave to remain’.
Only after five years of continuous residence (consisting of two, 2.5-year visas) is the person then eligible to apply for permanent settlement, which requires passing a ‘Life in the UK Test’ and an English language test.
Whether the Suits actress will be given special consideration and able to side-step part of this process remains to be seen, as the British Home Office “does not comment on individual cases”.
The only precedent for a foreigner marrying into the British royal family occurred in 1936, when Queen Elizabeth’s uncle, King Edward VIII, was forced to abdicate the throne to marry his divorced American fiancée, Wallis Simpson.