Royal Central reporter, Gabriel Aquino, has shared his opinion on the Sussex announcement and decision.
To make it clear: whether or not the Duke and Duchess of Sussex should step back as ‘senior’ royals is completely up to them, and I hope they made the decision that will better suit their lives in the long run. However, there are some doubtful points in their statements that I would like to point out.
First of all: there has NEVER been a connection between the HRH style and the role of a working royal. Of course, they are entitled to choose when to use their full titles, but ceasing to be working royals isn’t a proper reason to justify it, especially when you have such a strong precedent of members of the Royal Family who carry the HRH and are not (or have ceased to be) working royals, such as the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke of York, Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie, the Duchess of Kent and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.
And I’m not claiming that those members of the Royal Family should lose their royal styles. The point is simply that you need to be an HRH to be a working royal, but the contrary isn’t true. And to state that the couple will retain their HRH but won’t use it is just a very symbolic move with no practical result.
Another relevant point is that today’s statement from the Palace makes clear that Harry and Meghan can’t have what they hoped for. As stated on their previous announcement available on their website: “As working members of the Royal Family, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain dedicated to maximising Her Majesty’s legacy both in the UK and throughout the Commonwealth. They will continue to proudly do so by supporting their patronages and carrying out works for The Monarchy within the UK or abroad, as called upon.
The Palace’s statement is very transparent when it says that they will no longer perform royal duties, including those duties related to official military appointments. This means that engagements performed on behalf of their private charities after the transition period will no longer be listed on the Court Circular, the official record of royal duties.
Last but not least: the financial aspect. The couple’s wish to no longer receive public fund is to be welcomed, as long as they are truly off from any public financial support. The family is clear to support the couple with their own private funds and investments, I would just argue that it’s nonsense to allow Harry and Meghan to continue to receive income from the Duchy of Cornwall while they are free to engage in commercial arrangements. Also, it’s interesting to see they will repay any public money spent on the refurbishment of their family home, Frogmore Cottage. This just doesn’t mean that they will own the house. The cottage, along with all other properties at Windsor Great Park, will continue to be a royal domain, owned by The Queen in her legal capacity as monarch of the United Kingdom.