Queen Elizabeth II has stirred some controversy among royal fans online after her decision to drop Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal titles in her statement following Monday’s emergency Megxit meeting.
The move, which saw the 93-year-old monarch refer to Harry and Meghan as just ‘Harry and Meghan’ instead of using their traditional royal titles ‘His/Her Royal Highness’ and the ‘Duke/Duchess of Sussex’, has been branded ‘striking’ by an expert.
The omission didn’t go unnoticed, with one Twitter user asking royal commentator Victoria Arbiter if it was a telling sign the retiring royals might be stripped of their titles after their dramatic exit from ‘The Firm’.
“I do think it was very striking particularly in a statement from the Queen,” was her response.
Queen refers to just ‘Harry and Meghan’
The implications behind Her Majesty’s shift from formal to informal language for the Prince and his wife are unknown, however it comes after The Sun’s former royal editor Duncan Larcombe told Yahoo UK, “There’s a chance they could be [stripped of their royal titles]”.
“I think that would only happen if one of two things happened: a specific request of Prince Harry, or if the whole discussion just deteriorated into some sort of argument and the Queen had no choice but to say well he’s a liability, we’ve got to distance ourselves,” Duncan said.
“Either way, it’s very much a possibility,” he concluded.
As per convention, Harry and Meghan were given their official titles on their wedding day by the Queen and the pair have subsequently built a brand around their name, Sussex Royal. They recently trademarked the name suggesting the pair intended to retain it after they exit the family.
If Harry and Meghan did lose their titles, it wouldn’t be the first time. Both Harry’s mum, the late Princess Diana and his aunt, Sarah Ferguson were stripped of the style ‘Her Royal Highness’ after divorcing Prince Charles and Prince Andrew respectively.
Opinion online appears to be divided, with some royal fans claiming the Queen’s informal word choice reflects her compassion and support, while others argue it’s a sign of things to come for the Duke and Duchess.
“She called them Harry and Meghan and the Sussexes, so no HRH or title used. Maybe they're just Mr and Mrs Sussex now!” speculated one royal fan on Twitter.
“I note it is ‘Harry and Meghan’ and ‘the Sussexes’, not ‘the Duke and Duchess’ or ‘HRH’. I suspect one is either a full-time royal or one loses one's title. Quite right too,” said another.
“To me this is a grandmother talking about her grandson and his family... not the Queen talking about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. She loves him first and foremost I think,” read another tweet.
“She also called them ‘The Sussexes’ later on, so....” added another.
“I think it's likely that they will not be permitted to use their royal titles when living in Canada. Back in England when undertaking royal duties, they might have them. Seems complicated - I can't see a way for them to live here in Canada, and reap financial benefits of HRH,” pointed out a fan from Canada, where Harry and Meghan are expected to split their time.
“It’s striking, but I think she wanted to highlight they are a family and she is supporting her grandson and his family. Can you imagine how cold and impersonal this would have sounded had she used their titles?” said another.
It is standard practice, however, for royals to address one another by their full titles in public, including when exchanging birthday wishes on Instagram.
The Queen’s post-Megxit statement
The Queen issued a loaded statement about grandson Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle’s shock exit from the royal family following an emergency meeting at her Sandringham country estate in Norfolk.
In the brief message, the Queen - who was reportedly caught off-guard by the Sussexes’ bombshell last week - acknowledged that she would have “preferred” for the Duke and Duchess to maintain their royal roles, but said she is “supportive” of their change in plan.
The monarch also noted that there is ‘more work’ to come to facilitate Meghan and Harry’s split from the royal family but hopes the matter will be resolved in a matter of days.
Here it is, Queen’s statement: pic.twitter.com/qfgcaiNkFN— Hadas Gold (@Hadas_Gold) January 13, 2020
“Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family,” the Queen’s statement reads.
“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.
“Harry and Meghan have made clear that they do not want to be reliant on public funds in their new lives. It has therefore been agreed that there will be a period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the UK.
“These are complex matters for my family to resolve, and there is some more work to be done, but I have asked for final decisions to be reached in the coming days.”
The Queen is ‘supportive’ of Meghan and Harry’s decision to step back as senior royals despite her ‘preference’ for them to stay with the family
The Queen has acknowledged that the couple ‘do not want to be reliant on public funds’ but exactly when and how they will earn an income is not yet clear
The Queen has clarified that Harry and Meghan will split their time between Canada and the UK
Megxit discussions are still ongoing however the Queen wants things to be resolved ‘in the coming days’
The Queen has not used the couple’s formal royal titles, raising questions marks around whether they’ll be allowed to retain their HRH styling
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