MEGHAN MARKLE could have been faced with a similar situation to Prince Harry’s stepmother Camilla Parker Bowles in the fall out following the Duke and Duchess of Sussex shock resignation announcement, according to unearthed reports.
When Meghan married Harry in May 2018, they took on the titles of Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Sussex Royal has since become their brand name, which they have cultivated at great expense over the last two years through their website and their Instagram account. However, following their decision to officially step down as senior royals on March 31, the Queen made sure to lay down boundaries for the couple so they cannot “commercialise” the crown.
She ruled that neither of them could use their HRH titles nor the brand name ‘Sussex Royal’ once they are no longer part of the royal frontline.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex released a furious statement in response to the Queen’s decision – but unearthed reports reveal she considered being much harsher, and giving them a title more in line with Camilla’s.
According to the Evening Standard, the Queen thought about reducing the pair to Harry’s secondary title, the Earl of Dumbarton – stripping them of the Sussex title completely.
The article from January reads: “As ‘The Duke of Sussex’ is one of the ancient royal titles, downgrading Harry and Meghan’s rank in line with their reduced level of official duties was discussed.
“It is understood the suggestion was that the sixth in line to the throne would have been referred to by one of his lesser titles, the Earl of Dumbarton, with his wife being known as a countess, putting them on a par with Prince Edward and Sophie, the Earl and Countess of Wessex.”
Meghan and Harry were indeed sat with Edward and Sophie while they carried out their final public event on Monday, the Commonwealth Day service.
However, Edward chose the title of Earl of Wessex upon his wedding, deliberately opting not to become a duke.
Camilla, on the other hand, was left with very little choice but to take Prince Charles’ second title and become the Duchess of Cornwall upon her marriage.
Prince Charles’ main title is the Prince of Wales but after Princess Diana’s tragic death in 1997, Camilla decided she could not replace the ‘People’s Princess’ by taking on the same royal title.
Royal expert Marlene Koenig told Town & Country magazine that Camilla was not “popular or well liked” when she first married Charles.
She continued: “Still, a lot of tension and anger [was felt] among a certain element of the population, so it was decided that Camilla would be styled as the Duchess of Cornwall, even though, of course, she is the Princess of Wales.”
However, Harry and Meghan have been fortunate and were able to keep their royal titles as Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Royal insiders told the Evening Standard that the Queen and Charles did not want to appear “petty” and thought banning the two from using HRH was sufficient.
It is not yet known what Meghan and Harry will call themselves once they have rebranded.
Their frustration at Buckingham Palace’s decision was palpable in a statement released on their website, sussexroyal.com.
The pair wrote: “While there is not any jurisdiction by the monarchy or cabinet office over the use of the word ‘royal’ overseas, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex do not intend to use ‘Sussex Royal’ or any iteration of the word ‘royal’ in any territory (either within the UK or otherwise) when the transition occurs spring 2020.”
However some critics hit back and said that as the two are currently residing in Canada – a member state of the Commonwealth – the Queen does have some authority over the word there.
Canadian expert Patricia Treble explained to Canadian news website Macleans.ca: “They also conveniently ignore the country they are living in, namely Canada.
“Because, under Canadian law, federal government permission has to be obtained by the applicant where the world ‘Royal’ is used as a prefix in a corporate name and where it suggests royal patronage’.
“And just being the sixth-in-line to the throne isn’t enough to get you a royal moniker for your non-profit.”
The two will have to rebrand their Instagram account too, which has a total of 11.3million followers.
Interestingly Harry introduced himself as “just Harry” when he returned to the UK last week, which many commentators perceived as a sign the royal was adjusting to the reality of life outside of the Firm.
Harry and Meghan have also dropped their plans to set up their charitable foundation – which was going to be called Sussex Royal Foundation – and instead will be looking to implement change through other charities.