The suggestions from the royal commentator class were particularly awful for the past year. If it was up to them, Queen Elizabeth II would have demanded that Prince Harry divorce his wife, abandon his child in America, and return to England immediately so he could marry a blonde. Failing that, the commentators demanded that QEII strip Meghan and Harry of their Sussex ducal titles, strip Harry of his prince title, and force them out of all of their patronages. The idea was that if Harry & Meghan *have* to be together, they should be marginalized, broke, worthless and forgotten. In the end, the Queen made a devilish compromise with those unhinged hardliners: she stripped Harry and Meghan of all of the “royal patronages” she had some kind of control over, but there wasn’t much she could do about their royal titles. So now that’s being massaged into “the good Queen isn’t so vindictive and punitive after all.”
The Queen has no plans to strip the official titles of Duke and Duchess of Sussex from Harry and Meghan – but the couple will lose a string of patronages. The pair remain His and Her Royal Highness, although they are not permitted to use those titles on a day-to-day basis as they are no longer working members of the Royal Family.
A spokesman for the Sussexes said there was ‘absolutely no question’ they had wanted to retain the positions they had lost, adding: ‘They do respect the decision but they always made clear they were committed to doing the roles.’
Palace sources told the Mail that official positions were ‘simply incompatible’ with the couple’s new commercial careers in the US. However, stripping the couple of every vestige of their old lives – including the Sussex titles – was not an option for the Queen.
Palace insiders believed it would be ‘unduly punitive’ to take away the couple’s HRHs. Such a step could have provoked uncomfortable comparisons with Harry’s mother Diana, Princess of Wales, who lost her HRH after divorcing Prince Charles.
A source told the Mail: ‘They are still the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Your Royal Highnesses, although they won’t be using the latter. That was agreed last January and nothing has changed.’
Of the duke, they said: ‘He was born Prince Harry and will always be Prince Harry, while the [Sussex title] was a wedding gift. Regardless of what has happened, he will still be the grandson of the monarch, the son of a future monarch and the brother of a future monarch. That will never change. And he will still be those things even though he has chosen to walk away.’
Of the pressure on Harry to relinquish all of his titles, the source said: ‘He would rightly argue that he will always be portrayed as a royal and a prince, even if he worked as a landscape gardener in LA. He will never escape [the titles]. So why change?’
My guess – and I have no idea – is that the Oprah interview will be promoted as “A Conversation with Meghan & Harry,” no titles necessary. It gets a bit trickier with their Netflix projects because I really don’t know which unions they belong to and which names their union memberships are under. Meghan was/is part of SAG under her maiden name, but what about the Producers Guild of America? Whatever their PGA union cards say, that’s how they’ll be named on their Netflix projects.
I’ve noted before that the American press largely began phasing out their titles a year ago – they just became Meghan and Harry, and to this day, many outlets just use Meghan’s maiden name (they do the same with Kate, honestly, because their single-lady branding was so strong). My point? Americans don’t actually give a f–k about titles, and it’s an absolute joke that the British media keeps suggesting that Americans will feel one way or the other if H&M do lose their titles. All that being said, the real reason the Queen doesn’t want to take their titles is because she knows that the comparison to Prince Andrew – who still has his ducal title, his prince title, his HRH and his military titles – will be too stark.
Photos courtesy of Backgrid, Avalon Red.