If you’re a royal watcher, you may have noticed the very subtle change to Royal.uk, the British monarchy’s official website. So why was Prince Harry’s HRH title removed, when, as Express pointed out, the late Queen Elizabeth II was still referred to as the Monarch 74 times?
Harry and his wife Meghan Markle announced they were stepping down as senior working members of the royal family in 2020 in a move dubbed by the British tabloids as “Megxit”. In a joint statement, they announced at the time: “After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” opens their official statement. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment.”
Buckingham Palace released a statement shortly following the couple’s bombshell news: “Discussions with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage,” the statement reads. “We understand the desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.” The removal of Prince Harry’s His Royal Highness title on the official website of the royal family could be a targeted shade, or maybe it’s as innocent as Buckingham Palace suggests. Here’s what we know.
Why was Prince Harry’s HRH title removed?
Prince Harry’s HRH title was removed because he’s not a working member of the royal family anymore. But, as Express pointed out on August 4, 2023, it is curious that “the late Queen Elizabeth II is referred to as monarch at least 74 times on the Royal Family’s official website, other royals are called by their former titles and Prince Harry is called His Royal Highness – despite the infamous Megxit agreement of 2020 stating that he would no longer be addressed as such.”
Royal commentator Afua Hagan told the outlet: “The Royal Family website is supposed to be the first port of call for information on the monarchy and it needs to be accurate. Before the website can be enticing, exciting and engaging for an audience, it needs to be accurate – that’s the bottom line,” she said. “It’s massively disappointing and a bit embarrassing for the Royal Family if it is inaccurate. They are going to have to take a look and get up to scratch.”
In response, Buckingham Palace issued a statement to the British website, saying “the Royal Family website contains over five thousand pages of information about the life and work of the Royal Family. Following the death of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, content has been revisited and updated periodically. Some content may be out of date until this process is complete.”
It didn’t take the former royals to remove the HRH titles from their own material, however. In March 2020, Markle removed any reference to “HRH” or “Royal” titles from their charity websites. Smart Works, a charity that Markle partnered with that provides workwear to underprivileged women, no longer refers to her as “Our Royal Patron HRH The Duchess of Sussex.” Instead, the website simply refers to her as the “Duchess of Sussex.” (Though Prince Harry and Meghan dropped “HRH” and other royal titles, they are still allowed to be called the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.)
The Association of the Commonwealth Universities also stopped referring to Meghan as “HRH The Duchess of Sussex.” Instead, the former Suits actress is now called “Our Patron, The Duchess of Sussex” on the organization’s two most recent Instagram posts.
Meanwhile, Harry and Markle were reportedly “furious” their children’s HRH wasn’t going to be anointed after Queen Elizabeth II’s passing in late 2022. Archie and Lilibet are considered Prince and Princess but they cannot have the His Royal Highness or Her Royal Highness titles. A source told The Sun, “That is the agreement — they can be prince and princess but not HRH because they are not working royals.” The decision comes after “a lot of talks over the past week.” The source continued, “They have been relentless since the Queen died,” and “have been insistent that Archie and Lilibet are prince and princess. But they have been left furious that Archie and Lilibet cannot take the title HRH.”
Meghan first spoke out against the title rules and security for her children in her tell-all Oprah interview in March 2021. Meghan and Harry explained how Archie’s lack of a prince title has led to complications for them with the royal family. “They were saying they didn’t want him to be a prince or princess, which would be different from protocol, and that he wasn’t going to receive security,” Meghan said. “This went on for the last few months of our pregnancy where I was going, hold on for a second.”
According to People, under the current guidelines, the great-grandchildren of the monarch are not princes and princesses except for the children of the eldest son of Prince Charles, who is first in line for the throne. This exception is why Prince William (who is second in line for the throne) and Kate Middleton’s kids are Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. When King Charles inherited the throne, Archie and Lilibet became prince and princess now that Harry is the king’s son.
The Queen died on September 8, 2022, in Balmoral Castle in Scotland. When he was officially proclaimed as monarch, he said in his speech, “I know how deeply you and the entire nation and I think I may say the whole world sympathizes with me in the irreparable loss we have all suffered. It is the greatest consolation to me to know of the sympathy expressed by so many to my sister and my brothers and as such overwhelming affection and support should be extended to our whole family in our loss. To all of us as a family.” He continued, “My mother’s reign was unequaled in its duration, its dedication and its devotion. Even as we grieve we give thanks for this most faithful life. I am deeply aware of this great inheritance and of the duties and heavy responsibilities of sovereignty which have now passed to me.”
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