On Saturday (January 18), the Buckingham Palace announced that Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle would no longer be working members of the British royal family, and would no longer use their “Royal Highness” titles.
In an unprecedented move earlier this month, Harry and Meghan said they would step back as senior members of the Royal Family and spend more time in North America. They had said in a statement that they would “carve out a progressive new role” within the family and ”work to become financially independent”.
Harry and Meghan stepping back — what does it mean?
Prince Harry, the sixth in line to the British throne, is the younger son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, and a grandson of Queen Elizabeth II.
On the occasion of his marriage to Meghan Markle in 2018, the dukedom of Sussex was recreated after more than 200 years, and the two assumed the titles of Duke and Duchess of Sussex (together referred to as “the Sussexes”).
The couple had reportedly kept the Royal Family, including the Queen, in the dark about their decision to “step back”. Subsequently, negotiations between them and the rest of the Family regarding their future relationship took place.
The Palace statement released on Saturday read: “The Sussexes will not use their HRH titles as they are no longer working members of the Royal Family.” (HRH is short for ‘His/Her Royal Highness’)
However, while the two will no longer use the titles, they will retain them, leaving the possibility of a reconciliation open.
Harry will remain a prince and sixth in line to the throne, according to an Associated Press report.
The late Princess Diana, Harry’s mother, was stripped of ‘Her Royal Highness’ title when she and Prince Charles divorced.
The statement said Harry and Meghan would step back from royal duties, including official military appointments. It refers to the two as the “Duke and Duchess of Sussex”, indicating they would continue to retain the dukedom.
Also, Harry and Meghan would no longer formally represent Queen Elizabeth II as “senior royals”, but would continue to maintain their private patronages and associations.
According to the statement, they would no longer receive public funds, referring to their income from the Sovereign Grant. However, it is not clear whether they would continue to receive an income from the Duchy of Cornwall, which is regarded as a private fund. Held by Prince Charles, Harry’s father, it was created in 1337, and generated over 20 million pounds (INR 185 crores) last year.
As per their agreement, Harry and Meghan would be repaying 2.4 million pounds (INR 22 crore) of public money that they spent in renovating Frogmore Cottage, their house near Windsor Castle. This new arrangement is slated to take effect in spring 2020.
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