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Pressure builds on Prince Harry as the people of Sussex petition to remove his and Meghan’s titles

Thought Leader: Hilary Fordwich
September 15, 2022
Source: Fox News

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were given the royal titles of Duke and Duchess of Sussex by Queen Elizabeth II following their wedding in May 2018.

Since then, Harry and Markle have faced heavy scrutiny and gave up their senior royal roles in 2020 and moved to Montecito, California. There have been several petitions made online requesting that the Duke and Duchess be stripped of their royal titles.

Royal expert Hilary Fordwich shared with Fox News Digital Meghan and Harry were “welcomed with open arms at the time” after their title appointing.

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle funeral

“We saw the royal wedding, we saw the outpouring from the public in support of them. She was welcomed with open arms at that time. Don’t forget Prince Harry was one of the favorites. He’s plummeted in the polls now but he was one of the Royal favorites.”

Since the fall in rank by the public and the rise of online petitions, Harry has faced scrutiny by the media and British citizens. The Parallel Parliament filed a petition following the couple’s move to the United States with the description reading, “The title was given to them at marriage on the basis that they would be working royals serving the monarchy. As this is no longer the case, this title cannot be used for personal financial gain. It therefore has no purpose and must be removed.”

Here’s what could happen next for Markle and Harry.

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle received royal titles from Queen Elizabeth

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle received their royal rank as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex following their wedding in May 2018. After Queen Elizabeth’s death, Harry’s father, King Charles III, has continued to give Harry and Markle their royal titles.

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Queen Elizabeth

“The Queen has today been pleased to confer a Dukedom on Prince Henry of Wales.  His titles will be Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton and Baron Kilkeel,” the royal website shared following the couple’s wedding day.

“Prince Harry thus becomes His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex, and Ms. Meghan Markle on marriage will become Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex.”
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during their wedding service

Harry and Meghan step down as senior royals

In 2020, Harry and Markle stepped down as senior royals in the family and set their sights on California. The couple purchased a $14 million home in Montecito, California, where they currently reside and raise their two children: Archie, 3 and Lilibet, 1.

In Apple TV+’s mental health docuseries, “The Me You Can’t See,” Prince Harry sat down with Oprah Winfrey and said he received “total silence and total neglect” from the royal family in response to Meghan Markle’s difficulty adjusting.

Harry shared that he and his wife made the decision to step away after asking for help for years and receiving “total silence” from members within the royal family.

“We spent four years trying to make it work,” he continued. “We did everything that we possibly could to stay there and carry on doing the role and doing the job. But Meghan was struggling.”

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex scrutinized by the media

In March 2021, Meghan and Harry sat down in a bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey that sparked heavy backlash. Markle made hefty accusations about the royal family involving racism.

Markle shared that there was a conversation with a member of the family and Harry around “how dark their baby was going to be.”

Oprah interviews Prince Harry, Meghan Markle

“They didn’t want him to be a prince, or princess, depending on what the gender would be,” Markle said of her son Archie before his birth. “He wasn’t going to receive security.”

In the mental health docuseries, Harry touched on the struggles he faced dealing with the media frenzy and paparazzi, and made a comparison to what his late mother, Princess Diana, faced to his own life.

During the five-episode series, Harry said he regrets not calling out racism in the media sooner and referred to his mother’s relationship at the time of her death. “History was repeating itself, my mother was chased to her death while she was in a relationship with someone that wasn’t White. And now look what’s happened. You want to talk about history repeating itself. They are not going to stop until she dies,” Harry said.

Prince Charles Prince Harry

Harry shared the advice he received from his father, King Charles III.

“My father used to say to me when I was younger, he used to say to both William and I, ‘Well it was like that for me. It’s going to be like that for you.’ That doesn’t make sense,” he said. “Just because you suffered that doesn’t mean that your kids have to suffer. In fact, quite the opposite.”

Petition is created to strip the royals of their titles

Following Markle and Harry’s decision to step down as senior royals, there has been a petition made online requesting the Duke and Duchess be stripped of their titles so it “cannot be used for personal financial gain.”

Fordwich touched on the petition to remove their royal titles after their exit to Fox News Digital. “There has been a petition, a movement from the people of the county of Sussex, they’re supposed to represent, to remove them. Why? Because they’re taking the name but they’re not doing anything for the people of Sussex. This is a dilemma. This is not a celebrity role. It is a role of duty. So you need to do your duty, and then hold the title. Why would anybody want the title if they don’t want to do their duty to the people of the county of Sussex? You either do or you don’t. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”

She continued: “If you’re Duchess of Sussex and Duke of Sussex you’re supposed to serve the people and your duty is to be there and to go there and visit people’s homes and go to churches and go to schools and go to hospitals. That’s what the Duke and Duchess do. That’s what they should do. For example, the queen’s youngest son, Prince Edward, he’s the Earl of Wessex and his wife is the Countess of Wessex. They go to counties of Wessex and that’s what they do. So it’s very important to recognize that the people of Sussex are being served.”

The Parallel Parliament filed a petition following the couple’s move to the United States with a description that reads, “The title was given to them at marriage on the basis that they would be working royals serving the monarchy. As this is no longer the case, this title cannot be used for personal financial gain. It therefore has no purpose and must be removed.”

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee

Meghan and Harry stepped down as senior royals and moved to California in 2020. (Chris J Ratcliffe)

Buckingham Palace shared a statement in 2021 after Markle and Harry made their move to the United States. “Following conversations with The Duke, The Queen has written confirming that in stepping away from the work of The Royal Family it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service,” the statement said. “While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family.”

The statement came after a 12-month review following the infamous “Megxit” that occurred in January.

King Charles III spoke to his nation and the commonwealth for the first time as Britain’s sovereign on Friday and addressed the change, or lack thereof, in royal titles within the family.

Prince William and Kate Middleton were named Prince and Princess of Wales and Charles expressed “love” for Harry and Meghan “as they continue to build their lives overseas.”

King Charles, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

King Charles III renewed Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex’s royal titles when he took the throne after Queen Elizabeth’s death. (Mark Cuthbert)

Royal expert Fordwich shared with Fox News Digital that Harry and Meghan will continue to keep their royal titles “unless Parliament says otherwise.”

“They’ll remain Duke and Duchess or Sussex unless Parliament says otherwise. They can also keep the His Royal Highness/Her Royal Highness, currently, but that could be changed. Diana, Princess of Wales had hers rescinded. She lost the HRH honorific,” she said.

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