Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been in the headlines incessantly over the last week as a result of the bombshell announcement that they would be moving to North America and relinquishing their roles as senior members of the royal family. Since that time, Markle flew to Canada, where their son, Archie, has been staying, while Prince Harry remained in the UK.
The unprecedented abdication would require a number of conversations between Prince Harry and the rest of the family to discuss how the couple would best transition out of their responsibilities, as well as, what their roles would consist of, moving forward. Most recently, Queen Elizabeth II released a formal statement on the couple's move, which has some royal experts believing that the queen subtly signaled Prince Harry and Meghan might lose their titles.
Queen Elizabeth Releases a Formal Statement on Prince Harry and Meghan
When Prince Harry and Markle released their announcement via Instagram, the whole family was blindsided. Not even Prince William, Harry's brother saw the move coming, despite the presence of building tension that has progressively gotten worse over the course of the last year. Queen Elizabeth was completely shocked by the news, eventually calling for an emergency meeting at Sandringham Palace with Prince Harry, Prince William, and Prince Charles.
Directly following their highly confidential meeting, the Queen released her own statement on the abdication, the first from the family since Prince Harry and Meghan informed the public about their decision. "Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family,” Queen Elizabeth shared. “My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a royal family." While Her Majesty is showing support for the couple, there were some other aspects mentioned that have royal experts curious.
Subtle Hint That May Indicate The Duke and Duchess of Sussex Could Lose Titles
What's particularly peculiar about Queen Elizabeth's statement is in how she referred to Prince Harry and Meghan. In the essence of formal announcements and family discourse, the couple is usually referred to as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, which wasn't the case in the formal announcement by the queen.
This has led royal experts to believe it was a way to indicate to the public that Prince Harry and Meghan would be giving up their titles as they transition to civilian life in North America.
Royal Expert, Russell Meyers, addressed this unusual title slightly and discussed what it could possibly mean for the couple. "What is most remarkable about this statement, perhaps, is the Queen referring to them as ‘Harry and Meghan’ and not by their royal titles. Could be a big clue for the future," Meyers stated.
Referring Back in History for the Correct Precedent to Follow
However, other royal experts have differing opinions as to what will become of their official titles. Another expert, Robert Lacey, believed the contrary. He doesn't seem to think that Prince Harry and Meghan will have to forfeit their titles. He notes that although the queen did not call the couple 'The Duke and Duchess of Sussex' in her formal statement, she did refer to them as 'The Sussex's' at least once. To justify his thinking, Lacey referenced the abdication of Edward VIII who went on to marry Wallis Simpson in 1936. While he did give up his right to the throne, his official title of Duke of Windsor was retained.
In such an age where the titles are just that, titles, it's unclear what significance losing them would be in the long run, especially given that Prince Harry will not be king, barring multiple tragedies on the part of Prince Charles, who is immediately in line to succeed Queen Elizabeth II, and Prince William, thereafter. Still, if the precedent is maintained and Prince Harry's right to the throne is removed, nothing inherently changes for the immediate situation.
The Cost of Security to Fall on British or Canadian Taxpayers
While it's still entirely plausible that the couple will lose their titles, they will, nonetheless, be international figures, no matter where they decide to move. As a result, there has been increasing attention given to the security detail that will be required to keep them safe on the other side of the Atlantic.
It was initially stated that the British taxpayers would be responsible for security that could cost more than one million dollars per year, but it may now fall to the country of Canada. The prime minister, Just Trudeau, has reportedly promised Queen Elizabeth II that they would ensure Harry, Meghan, and Archie would be safe in their country.