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The Sussexes

The Queen’s statement gives us a major clue about how the Duke & Duchess of Sussex will be known in the future


Mark Thomas/ i-Images

Following the announcement of the impending departure of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex from royal duties, it has been widely speculated that the couple may lose their royal titles.

As a period of transition gets underway, it is possible that the couple will want to cut ties to their royal titles.

Speaking to Royal Central last week, royal historian Marlene Koenig said that Prince Harry can simply renounce his peerage should he wish to do so.

However, if they want to recind their HRH status, The Queen would likely need to issue a Letters Patent.

What the Duke & Duchess of Sussex will be known as after they depart the Royal Family remains unclear, however, the statement released by Her Majesty on Monday evening gives a strong indication of what the future may hold.

In her message, the monarch said: “My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family. Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working Members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family.

The fact that The Queen refers to the couple as simply ‘Harry and Meghan’ as opposed to their formal titles indicates that we can expect to see more of this in the future.

In past royal statements, The Queen has only ever referred to her family members by their formal titles.

Readers have also been asking what this means for Prince Harry, particularly in the line of succession to the throne.

Mrs Koenig said that Harry & Meghan stepping down from royal duties will not lead to a change in the succession.

She said: “Succession to the throne is based on legislation including the Succession to the crown Act, which includes the Act of Settlement. It would take an act of Parliament to remove a person from the line of succession. 

“Edward VIII could not abdicate without an act of Parliament. 

When the first Duke of Sussex (Prince Augustus, George III’s son) and the Duke of Cambridge (Prince George, son of Prince Adolphus) married women in contravention of the Royal Marriages Act, they did not lose their rights, but their wives and children could not their rank and children did not have dynastic rights to the throne and sons could not inherit the peerage.”