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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were given the royal titles of Duke and Duchess of Sussex by Queen Elizabeth II after their wedding in May 2018.
Since then, Harry and Markle have come under intense scrutiny and dropped their senior royal roles in 2020 and moved to Montecito, California. Several petitions have been made online calling for the Duke and Duchess to be stripped of their royal titles.
Royal expert Hilary Fordwich shared with Fox News Digital Meghan and Harry were “welcomed back then with open arms” following their title nominations.
“We saw the royal wedding, we saw the public outpouring in their favour. She was welcomed with open arms at that time. Don’t forget Prince Harry was one of the favourites. He has dropped in the polls now, but he was one of the royal favourites.”
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Since the fall in public rankings and the rise of online petitions, Harry has come under intense scrutiny from the media and British citizens. The Parallel Parliament filed a petition following the couple’s move to the United States with the following description: “The title was given to them at marriage on the grounds that they would work as members of the Royal Family in the service of the Monarchy. As this is no longer the case, this title cannot be used for personal financial gain, so it has no purpose and should be removed.”
Here’s what could happen to Markle and Harry next.
Prince Harry, Meghan Markle received royal titles from Queen Elizabeth
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle received their royal rank as Duke and Duchess of Sussex after their marriage in May 2018. After Queen Elizabeth’s death, Harry’s father, King Charles III, continued to give Harry and Markle their royal titles.
“The Queen was pleased today to bestow a dukedom on Prince Henry of Wales. His titles will be Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton and Baron Kilkeel,” the royal website shared after the couple’s wedding day.
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“Prince Harry thus becomes His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex, and Ms. Meghan Markle on her marriage will become Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex.”
Harry and Meghan step down as senior royals
In 2020, Harry and Markle stepped down as senior royals and set their sights on California. The couple purchased a $14 million home in Montecito, Calif., where they currently reside and are raising their two children: Archie, 3, and Lilibet, 1.
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In Apple TV+’s mental health docuseries ‘The Me You Can’t See’, Prince Harry sat down with Oprah Winfrey and said he was given ‘total silence and utter disregard’ of the royal family in response to the difficulty of adaptation of Meghan Markle.
Harry shared that he and his wife made the decision to walk away after years of asking for help and receiving “complete silence” from senior royals.
“We spent four years trying to make it work,” he continued. “We did everything we could to stay there and continue to play the role and do the job. But Meghan was struggling.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex scrutinized by the media
In March 2021, Meghan and Harry sat down in an explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey which sparked a strong reaction. Markle has made heavy accusations against the royal family involving racism.
Markle shared that there was a conversation with a family member and Harry about “how dark their baby was going to be”.
“They didn’t want him to be a prince or a princess, depending on gender,” Markle said of her son Archie before he was born. “He was not going to receive security.”
In the mental health docuseries, Harry opened up about the struggles he faced in the face of media frenzy and paparazzi, and drew a comparison to what his late mother, Princess Diana, had to deal with in her own life.
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Over the course of the five-episode series, Harry said he regretted not speaking out against racism in the media sooner and spoke about his mother’s relationship at the time of her death. “History was repeating itself, my mother was hunted to death while in a relationship with someone who was not white. And now look what happened. You want to talk about history repeating. They won’t stop until she dies,” Harry said.
Harry shared the advice he received from his father, King Charles III.
“My dad used to tell me when I was younger, he used to tell William and me, ‘Well that’s how it was for me. It’s going to be that way for you.’ It doesn’t make sense,” he said. “Just because you suffered doesn’t mean your children have to suffer. In fact, quite the contrary.”
A petition is created to strip members of the royal family of their titles
Following Markle and Harry’s decision to step down as senior royals, a petition has been launched online calling for the Duke and Duchess to be stripped of their titles so they “cannot be used for personal financial purposes”.
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Fordwich spoke about the petition to have their royal titles removed after they came out on Fox News Digital. “There’s been a petition, a movement from the people of Sussex County, who they’re supposed to represent, to take them down. Why? Because they’re taking the name but they’re not doing anything for the people of Sussex. It’s is a dilemma. It’s not a celebrity role. It’s a duty role. So you have to do your duty and then hold the title. Why would someone want the title if they don’t want to do “His duty to the people of Sussex County? You either do it or you don’t. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”
She continued: “If you are Duchess of Sussex and Duke of Sussex you are supposed to serve the people and your duty is to be there and to go there and to visit people’s homes and to go to churches and go to schools and go to hospitals That’s what the Duke and Duchess do That’s what they should do For example, the Queen’s youngest son, Prince Edward, he’s the Earl of Wessex and his wife is the Countess of Wessex. They go to Wessex and that’s what they do. So it’s very important to recognize that the people of Sussex are being served.”
The Parallel Parliament filed a petition following the couple’s move to the United States with a description that reads: ‘The title was given to them at marriage on the grounds that they would work as members of the Royal Family in the service As this is no longer the case, this title cannot be used for personal gain, so it serves no purpose and should be removed.
Buckingham Palace shared a statement in 2021 after Markle and Harry moved to the United States. “Following conversations with the Duke, the Queen has written to confirm that by stepping away from the work of the Royal Family it is not possible to pursue the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service.” , the statement said. “While everyone is saddened by their decision, the Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family.”
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The statement came after a 12-month review following the infamous ‘Megxit’ that occurred in January.
King Charles III renews Harry and Meghan’s titles
On Friday, King Charles III addressed his nation and the Commonwealth for the first time as a British sovereign and addressed the change, or lack thereof, of royal titles within the family.
Prince William and Kate Middleton have been named Prince and Princess of Wales and Charles expressed “love” for Harry and Meghan “as they continue to build their lives overseas”.
Royal expert Fredwich shared with Fox News Digital that Harry and Meghan will continue to retain their royal titles “unless Parliament decides otherwise”.
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“They will remain Duke and Duchess or Sussex unless Parliament decides otherwise. They can also retain HRH/HRH, currently, but that could be changed. Diana Princess of Wales has had hers cancelled. She lost the honorary title of HRH,” she said.