Prince Harry and Meghan: Expert explains why Sussexes WON’T lose titles

Prince Harry ‘doesn’t need to speak’ on Constitution says expert

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Prince Harry, 36, and Meghan Markle, 39, left the Royal Family behind in order to pursue “a more peaceful life” as private citizens in the USA. Since stepping down as senior royals in March 2020, the couple have gained financial independence from the Firm and taken part in several controversial ventures, including their bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey, in which they made a series of damning allegations about the Royal Family.

As non-senior royals, Meghan and Harry enjoy more freedom of expression than working members of the monarchy.

They have held onto their HRH (His/Her Royal Highness) styles and Duke and Duchess of Sussex titles despite no longer serving the Crown and some critics feel their new lifestyle is not in keeping with their royal status.

Nonetheless, Meghan and Harry are highly unlikely to lose the Duke and Duchess of Sussex titles they received from the Queen as a wedding gift and a constitutional expert has told Express.co.uk why.

Why Meghan and Harry WON’T lose their royal titles

Meghan and Harry will not lose their royal titles because there is no recent precedent for the move, a constitutional expert has claimed.

Academic Iain MacMarthanne told Express.co.uk: “There is in some quarters a feeding frenzy at present for the removal of all or some of Prince Harry’s titles.

“However, before entertaining such an idea there are a few first-stage considerations to be embraced.”

There is no modern precedent for such a move, Mr MacMarthanne explained.

The expert said: “Within the context of present circumstances, Prince Harry was born an HRH and prince, and there is no modern precedent for someone born as such being stripped of these styles and titles.”

He added: “The Sussex peerage is a hereditary creation and was given as a gift by the Queen.

“Similarly, as with royal styles and titles, there is no modern precedent for the forfeiture of a royal peerage.”

Highlighting some rare historical instances when royal titles have been taken away, Mr MacMarthanne said: “There are however historic exceptions where both have occurred and as such alternative precedents have been established, but these have been exceptional: where the individuals concerned were considered enemies of the state, such as in 1917, resulting in George V stripping German relations of their British royal titles and peerages through Letters Patent; and where a person of royal birth voluntarily relinquished their titles, again being given effect through Letters Patent, as in the case of HRH Princess Patricia of Connaught when she married.”

The most likely way Harry and Meghan would lose their Sussex titles would be if they chose to relinquish them themselves, Mr MacMarthanne explained.

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The expert added: “Presently, as far as the Sussex peerage is concerned there is now the possibility of the holder utilising the Peerage Act of 1963, and renouncing their titles for life, which any subsequent holder can also do.

“This in effect puts the peerage into abeyance until such times as a legitimate heir claims it.”

In regards to the couple’s HRH styles, Harry could choose to petition the Queen to get them removed.

Mr MacMarthanne added: “In respect of royal styles and titles though, there is at present, no legislative means for an HRH and prince or princess to renounce them.

The academic explained: “It does however remain open for the individual, Prince Harry in this instance, to petition the Queen to issue Letters Patent to that effect.”

As implausible as it may seem, the Queen does still have the option to remove Harry and Meghan’s royal status if “deemed necessary.”

Mr MacMarthanne added: “Ultimately though, as happened in 1917 by the hand of the Queen’s grandfather George V, all options remain open and with a precedent already set for the removal of royal styles, titles and peerages, when deemed necessary, this remains an established option.”

Some have called for Harry to also lose his place as sixth in the line of succession but this would require an Act of Parliament.

Mr MacMarthanne added: “To remove Prince Harry and his heirs from the line of succession, as has also been suggested, would, however, require an Act of Parliament.”

Asked what names Harry and Meghan would be known by if they did ditch their titles, Mr MacMarthanne said: “Were the Duke of Sussex to use the 1963 legislation and renounce his peerage he would automatically revert to being HRH Prince Henry of Wales, and when his father became King, HRH The Prince Henry.”

Mr MacMarthanne was keen to emphasise that Meghan only holds her titles via her marriage to Harry.

He added: “If Prince Harry were to renounce his peerage his wife would cease to be the Duchess of Sussex and would instead become HRH Princess Henry of Wales and subsequently HRH The Princess Henry.

“It should be remembered that as far as his wife is concerned she enjoys his titles as a courtesy of their marriage, she does not hold them in her own right, and consequently she would not be formally known as Princess Meghan.”

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