Royal title: Why HRH titles are important in the Royal Family – Who has one?

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HRH titles are a prestigious gift bestowed by the Queen to members of her family. The Royal Family members with these titles are referred to as His or Her Royal Highness. But why exactly are these titles important within the Royal Family and which members have HRH titles?

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepped away from royal life earlier this year, resigning their positions as senior royals.

As part of their exit deal, they were permitted to keep their HRH titles, but are no longer permitted to actively use these titles.

On the Sussexes website, they wrote: “As agreed and set out in January, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will retain their “HRH” prefix, thereby formally remaining known as His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex and Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex.

“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will no longer actively use their HRH titles as they will no longer be working members of the family as of Spring 2020.”


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What does HRH mean?

The letters HRH stand for His or Her Royal Highness.

This title has customarily been used by senior members of the Royal Family since the 18th century.

It was customary for the reigning monarch to bestow this title to their sons and grandsons, as well as their daughters and granddaughters later.

Why are HRH titles important?

Until the First World War, monarchs were permitted to liberally bestow HRH titles.

However, in 1917, King George V restricted how many minor royals were permitted to have this title.

He did so given the rife speculation about German origins and heritage within the House of Windsor, which was renamed as such that same year from the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

In recent years, the Queen has loosened the restrictions on doling out HRH titles to members of the Royal Family.

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Who holds HRH titles in the Royal Family?

Traditionally the Queen gives the HRH title to her children and grandchildren.

Historically it was withheld from daughters, but this restriction no longer applies.

All of the Queen’s children: Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward hold HRH titles, but not all of their children do.

Princess Anne refused the Queen’s offer of the HRH title for her two children, Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall, so these royals do not hold any official titles or HRH status.

All of the other royal grandchildren do have HRH titles, but Prince Edward and Sophie Countess of Wessex’s children do not use their HRH titles and likely never will according to Sophie.

Sophie told The Sunday Times Magazine: “We try to bring them up with the understanding they are very likely to have to work for a living.

“Hence we made the decision not to use HRH titles.

“They have them and can decide to use them from 18, but I think it’s highly unlikely.”

In terms of the Queen’s great-grandchildren, only Prince William’s children currently use the HRH titles.

While Prince Harry’s son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, and Peter and Zara’s children, do not use their HRH titles.

Do you get an HRH title if you marry into the Royal Family?

Royal Family members by marriage are sometimes given HRH titles.

Members such as Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, and Meghan Markle were given HRH titles upon their marriage.

However, commoners who marry royals who are lower in the line of succession have not been entitled to this same privilege.

For instance, Princess Eugenie holds the HRH title, but when she married husband Jack Brooksbank in October 2018 he did not get the title.

The late Princess Diana was given the title upon her marriage to Prince Charles, but had it taken away after their divorce.

Instead, she was given the courtesy title of “Diana, Princess of Wales.”

Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, was also stripped of her HRH title after her divorce from Prince Andrew.

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