Prince Harry, 36, and Meghan Markle, 39, quit as members of monarchy in 2020 but have held onto their HRH styles and Duke and Duchess of Sussex titles nonetheless. Following their royal step down the couple have faced calls to be stripped of their status after speaking out on political matters and launching a series of damning claims against the royal household during their bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey.
While Meghan and Harry’s royal status is highly unlikely to change while Queen Elizabeth II, 95, is still alive, they could be “ditched from being members of the Royal Family” when Prince Charles becomes king, a royal expert has claimed.
Royal author Angela Levin told talkRADIO: “Prince Charles has wanted for a very long time to cut the monarchy down to save costs and to make people be worth the money that they got from the taxpayer.
“Prince Charles has wanted for a very long time to cut the monarchy down to save costs and to make people be worth the money that they got from the taxpayer.
“I imagine that might be when Harry and Meghan are ditched from being members of the Royal family.”
Explaining the mechanisms by which the Sussexes could be stripped of their status, constitutional expert Iain MacMarthanne said: “As things presently stand there is no real precedent to follow should there be a desire, or wish, to remove them.
“What should be kept in mind is that the style and title HRH and prince is quite separate to the peerage of Sussex.
“The peerage can be disclaimed by the duke under legislation passed in 1963, but the peerage remains live and can be inherited by the next male heir upon the death of the holder, albeit disclaimed – in this instance Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, otherwise the earl of Dumbarton.
“Alternatively it would require an act of parliament and royal assent to remove the peerage under forfeiture.”
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Mr MacMarthanne added: “Such a step would be draconian and has historically only been used against those considered traitorous to the crown.
“Even if the peerage were to be removed there remains the matter of the style and title HRH and prince.
“By the precedent established at the time of Edward VIII’s abdication, it could be expected that if the Sussex peerage were disclaimed or forfeited then the duke would revert to being HRH Prince Henry (Harry) of Wales, becoming HRH The Prince Henry upon the succession of his father.
“In this case the duchess she would become HRH Princess Henry of Wales, thereafter HRH The Princess Henry.”
The power to remove Meghan and Harry’s royal status rests with the monarch, Mr MacMarthanne explained.
He added: “That all said, the style and title HRH and prince or princess is within the gift of the monarch.
“It is, therefore, conceivable for these to be removed, as was the case when George V stripped several persons of such styles and titles in 1917, persons who were deemed enemies of the state. Again this is draconian, and it should be remembered that the duke and duchess voluntarily gave up the use of their HRH styles last year.
“Whether or not this might become formalised in some other way is speculation, but given their activities this year it ultimately will remain a talking point for interested parties until resolved one way or another.”
The expert questioned whether Harry and Meghan really need their royal status now they have left the monarchy and relocated to the USA.
He said: “Ultimately the question must be begged: forging the life they now are, abroad, what need have they of any royal title?
“If their brand has real value it will survive without such window dressings as styles and titles – it was after all the very point the Earl Spencer made about his sister, Diana, Princess of Wales, on the occasion of her funeral.”
While Meghan and Harry still have their HRH styles and peerage they have agreed with the Queen not to use them in conjunction with their work going forward.
Published at Tue, 27 Apr 2021 08:52:00 +0000