Broadcaster Andrew Neil has joined the chorus of critics calling for Harry and Meghan to be stripped of their official titles as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
The pair remain His and Her Royal Highness, despite Megxit, although they are not permitted to use those titles on a day-to-day basis because they are no longer working members of the Royal Family.
While the couple will lose a string of patronages, the Queen has no plans to remove the titles from them, it was reported last night.
However, there is growing sentiment from the public that they should no longer be referred to as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Former BBC presenter Neil led the criticism, tweeting: ‘It’s hardly a huge issue but do we now need to refer to them as duke and duchess. Surely Mr and Ms would be more appropriate and they’d want that too.’
A spokesman for the couple said yesterday there was ‘absolutely no question’ they had wanted to retain the positions they had lost, adding: ‘They do respect the decision but they always made clear they were committed to doing the roles.’
Broadcaster Andrew Neil has joined the chorus of critics calling for Harry and Meghan to be stripped of their official titles as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex
While the couple will lose a string of patronages, the Queen has no plans to remove the titles from them, it was reported last night
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will have to relinquish their roles with a number of organisations including Harry’s presidency of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust. Pictured: Harry and Meghan attend a roundtable discussion with the trust at Windsor Castle in 2019
Among patronages Harry must give up is his role with the London Marathon Charitable Trust
Neil’s thoughts were echoed by dozens more on social media, including many from Sussex itself, wanting to distance their home county from the couple.
One wrote: ‘How are they of any help to the people of Sussex when they live in California and are no longer working royals? Title should be given to someone who wants to be associated with Sussex’.
Another added: ‘They are not a good advert for Sussex! Don’t live here and do little, if anything for our county.’
A third joked: ‘Seeing as H&M are not returning to the Royal Family, as a proud resident of Sussex I am offering up my services to take on the title of Duchess of Sussex. I don’t mind opening fetes or Ardingly and would take care judging duties incredibly seriously.’
Critics have tried to take action before, with nearly 4,000 people in Brighton, East Sussex, signing a petition urging the council to snub the Sussexes.
However, Brighton and Hove City Council leader Nancy Platts said that stripping royals of their titles was not a matter for a local authority as the power rested with the Crown.
Palace sources told the Mail that official positions were ‘simply incompatible’ with the couple’s new commercial careers in the US.
However, stripping the couple of every vestige of their old lives – including the Sussex titles – was not an option for the Queen.
Palace insiders believed it would be ‘unduly punitive’ to take away the couple’s HRHs.
Such a step could have provoked uncomfortable comparisons with Harry’s mother Diana, Princess of Wales, who lost her HRH after divorcing Prince Charles.
A source told the Mail: ‘They are still the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Your Royal Highnesses, although they won’t be using the latter. That was agreed last January and nothing has changed.’
Of the duke, they said: ‘He was born Prince Harry and will always be Prince Harry, while the [Sussex title] was a wedding gift.
Although he will keep HRH, Harry will give up his patronage role with Rugby Football League
Prince Harry must also give up his role with the Rugby Football Union. Pictured: Prince Harry presents Richie McCaw of New Zealand with the Webb Ellis Cup after 2015 World Cup finals
‘Regardless of what has happened, he will still be the grandson of the monarch, the son of a future monarch and the brother of a future monarch. That will never change.
‘And he will still be those things even though he has chosen to walk away.’
Of the pressure on Harry to relinquish all of his titles, the source said: ‘He would rightly argue that he will always be portrayed as a royal and a prince, even if he worked as a landscape gardener in LA. He will never escape [the titles]. So why change?’
As revealed by the Mail earlier this week, the Sussexes have been stripped of all royal patronages given to them by the Queen.
In addition to his military roles, Harry has had to relinquish his presidency of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, as well as the role of patron at the Rugby Football Union, the Rugby Football League and the London Marathon Charitable Trust.
Meghan was given two patronages in 2019 including at the Royal National Theatre (pictured)
The Queen handed Meghan two royal patronages in 2019 – at the Royal National Theatre and the Association of Commonwealth Universities – but these are now lost too.
Meghan must also give up her role as vice-president of the Commonwealth Trust.
She will, however, retain her two private patronages at the employment charity Smart Works and animal welfare group Mayhew.
Her husband will also keep private roles with African Parks, Dolen Cymru, the Henry van Straubenzee Memorial Fund, MapAction, Rhino Conservation Botswana, Sentebale, WellChild and the Invictus Games for wounded soldiers.