Meghan Markle could have snubbed Duchess title and kept maiden name instead – expert

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Meghan Markle, 39, and Prince Harry have kept their royal titles and HRH styles despite their step down from the Fold. The couple have agreed with Queen Elizabeth II to no longer use the word ‘royal’ in conjunction with their work going forward but nonetheless, they are still the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Meghan and Harry have been based in the USA with their son Archie Harrison, one, since March and moved into a new home in Santa Barbara, California last month.

In recent weeks Meghan has ruffled some feathers among traditionalists for urging Americans to vote in the upcoming US election.

Members of the Royal Family are traditionally expected to remain politically neutral and avoid aligning themselves with political causes.

But as Meghan and Harry are no longer senior royals they have more freedom of expression than they did previously.

While Meghan has shared platforms with high-profile Democrats she has not outwardly aligned herself with one political party but her recent actions have prompted some critics to call for her royal title to be removed.

According to a constitutional expert, stripping Meghan of her title would be impossible without removing Harry’s too because she only has a title through her marriage to Harry.

Expert Iain MacMarthanne told Express.co.uk: “There has become a fashion of late that anyone who oversteps a subjective mark, and who holds a title, should be stripped of it.

“Easier said than done. In the instance of the Duchess of Sussex, no laws have been broken, conventions are there to be tested, but above all else, suggestions that the duchess could be stripped of her title is to assume it was given to her.”

The expert added: “This is not the case. The duchess holds her styles and titles as a courtesy, derived from her husband.”

Mr MacMarthanne explained that as Meghan’s title is intrinsically linked to Harry she is able to use it if and when she pleases.

Mr MacMarthanne also claimed that Meghan could request the Queen to use a different title altogether or to even be known by her maiden name if she so wished.

He said: “In effect, there is nothing to strip from her, she is at liberty not to use these titles and could, should she prefer, be known by her pre-marital name.”

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Mr MacMarthanne explained that royal wives are allowed to ask the Queen to be known by another style if they wish.

He said: “The duchess is also at liberty to make a formal request of the Queen to be known by another style, two examples of which exist: HRH Princess Patricia of Connaught becoming Lady Patricia on marriage; and more pertinently the example of the present Duchess of Kent who rather than being known as HRH The Duchess of Kent, requested in 2002, that she be known as Katherine, Duchess of Kent.”

According to Mr MacMarthanne calls to remove Meghan’s title are “irrelevant” given that neither she nor Harry plan to use them in conjunction with their work going forward.

He also claimed the couple were in an ‘anomalous’ situation given that they are living in the USA – a country that rejected the monarchy.

The expert said: “It is arguably anomalous to be using any title whilst residing in a country that rejected the monarchy; the work the duchess does is not dependent on a title; together the Sussex’s have undertaken not to use their royal styles and titles, and for this to be up for review early next year.

“Talk of stripping the duchess of her courtesy titles, held by right through her marriage, seems irrelevant.”

Meghan and Harry’s titles and status will be reviewed by the Queen next year.

The Sussexes have now settled in Montecito and are expected to remain in the States for the foreseeable future.

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