For 33 years the British public, nay, the world, has basked in the gingerful glory of Prince Harry’s beacon of red hair. Redheads everywhere rejoiced that the Royal Family’s ginger gene came out to say “Hi” in the form of the prince, who is both proud of his gingerness as well as happy to take banter with his big brother (ahem, Prince William, at least Harry has hair).
So it’s no surprise that the world (the gingercentric one, at least) is on tenterhooks about Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle (which happens to take place on the same day as Redhead Day UK 2018, how great is that?!). The big question is…
Will Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have ginger babies?
Having a ginger baby is like winning the genetic lottery, particularly if both parents don’t have red hair themselves, much like Princess Diana and Prince Charles. But in this case, we already have one full-blown redhead, plus one non-redhead. So, what are the odds?
As we know, red hair is recessive so must be present in both parents’ genetics for the possibility of gingerness. If one parent doesn’t carry the ginger gene, the child will definitely not be ginger – both parents must carry it, whether they are redheads themselves or not.
While Meghan Markle is mixed race, this doesn’t necessarily mean she doesn’t have the MC1R ginger gene in her DNA. She may be what we like to call a ‘secret ginger’, carrying it from generations, and passing on to her children too.
Let’s think positively for a moment. And let’s speak scientifically. If (and that’s a big ‘if’) Meghan does have the ginger gene, the couple has 50% chance of having a ginger baby. See below table for how this works.
If, however, the more likely outcome is that Meghan does not carry the ginger gene, then it is actually impossible for her children to have red hair. By looking at her family members, only her half brother Thomas Markle Jr has red hair, so it’s possible that the red hair gene came from his mother. No one else in Meghan’s family tree has ginger hair themselves, or even are particularly freckly, which is an indicator of the ginger gene, so you can put your fanfare down, we’re sorry to say.
Whatever happens, as Prince Harry carries the ginger gene, his children will receive a copy of it, which means there will be plenty of possibility for ginger offspring in later generations.