Prince Harry And Meghan Markle Will No Longer Use Their Royal Titles And Will Repay UK Taxpayers $3 Million
While they will still be known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, they will no longer be known as "their royal highnesses."
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (aka Prince Harry and Meghan Markle) will no longer use their "royal highnesses" titles as they step back as working members of the royal family, and will repay UK taxpayers for the £2.4 million ($3.1 million) that was used to refurbish their home, Frogmore Cottage, Buckingham Palace said in a statement Saturday.
The couple will still be known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, but they will no longer formally represent the Queen or receive money from the Sovereign Grant, the annual funding given to the Queen by the government to cover the costs of the royal family's official expenses.
Although the exact figures of the couple's personal wealth have not been made public, Harry received £10 million ($13 million) from the estate of his mother, Princess Diana, in 2014. He also inherited approximately £7 million ($9 million) from his great-grandmother, the Queen Mother, upon her death in 2002. Meghan's net worth from her acting career has been estimated at around $5 million (£3.8 million).
They will keep Frogmore House, which is on the grounds of Windsor Castle, as their official residence in the UK, but they will now pay rent for the property.
As part of the requirement to step back from royal duties, Harry will lose his honorary military appointments. However, he and Meghan will continue their private patronages and associations with charitable organizations.
The statement refused to comment on the question of who will pay the couple's security costs in the future. "Buckingham Palace does not comment on the details of security arrangements. There are well established independent processes to determine the need for publicly-funded security."
The new arrangement will come into effect in the spring of this year.
In addition to the official statement from Buckingham Palace, the Queen also released a personal statement about the Sussexes' decision, expressing her "whole family’s hope that today’s agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life."
She also appeared to acknowledge the difficulties that Harry and Meghan have experienced in the world's spotlight, and the toll they have said it has taken on their well-being.
"I recognize the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life," she said. "I want to thank them for all their dedicated work across this country, the Commonwealth and beyond, and am particularly proud of how Meghan has so quickly become one of the family."
"Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family," she said.
The Sussexes shared the Queen's personal statement on their official Instagram.
So what's the deal with their royal titles (referred to from here as HRH titles)? It's a bit confusing, but here's what it looks like so far.
Harry and Meghan are still the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Harry was just "Prince Harry of Wales" before he married. The Queen "confer[red] a dukedom" on him on the day he and Meghan got married. She's not taking the dukedom away from them.
Up until now, Harry and Meghan have been addressed as and referred to as "their royal highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex." Now, since they are no longer going to formally represent the Queen as working members of the royal family, they won't be using the HRH titles. They'll just be the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Here's where it gets a bit complicated. Technically, because Prince Harry is the son of the Prince of Wales, per law, he's still a royal highness. And Meghan's married to him, so she's technically still a royal highness. The Queen would have to issue a letters patent to change the law and formally remove their royal titles. She did this in 1996, removing the HRH titles of Princess Diana and Sarah, Duchess of York, following their respective divorces from Prince Charles and Prince Andrew — and clarifying in the law that all women who marry male descendants of the sovereign and then divorce them will be stripped of their titles.
There is, however, a precedent for members of the royal family to not use and go by the titles that they technically possess. The best example of this is Prince Charles's wife, Camilla. Technically, she's the Princess of Wales, because she's married to the Prince of Wales. However, due to the close associations of the title "Princess of Wales" with the late Princess Diana, she chooses to just go by one of her other titles and is known as the Duchess of Cornwall.
TL;DR: Harry and Meghan are still the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. While they're technically still "their royal highnesses" under the letter of the law (for now), they're no longer going to call themselves or be referred to as "their royal highnesses" because they're stepping down from royal duties.
The full statement from Buckingham Palace:
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are grateful to Her Majesty and the Royal Family for their ongoing support as they embark on the next chapter of their lives.
As agreed in this new arrangement, they understand that they are required to step back from Royal duties, including official military appointments. They will no longer receive public funds for Royal duties.
With The Queen’s blessing, the Sussexes will continue to maintain their private patronages and associations. While they can no longer formally represent The Queen, the Sussexes have made clear that everything they do will continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty.
The Sussexes will not use their HRH titles as they are no longer working members of the Royal Family.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have shared their wish to repay Sovereign Grant expenditure for the refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, which will remain their UK family home.
Buckingham Palace does not comment on the details of security arrangements. There are well established independent processes to determine the need for publicly-funded security.
This new model will take effect in the Spring of 2020.
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