Queen could class Meghan Markle and Harry ‘enemies of the state’ in order to strip titles

Prince Harry: Royal expert discusses how Queen 'vetoed' plea

Meghan Markle, 39, and Prince Harry, 36, declared their wish to step back from royal duties on January 8, 2020. In the 12 months since their bombshell statement, the couple have gained financial independence from the Royal Family and carved out a new life for themselves and their son Archie Harrison, one, in the USA.

Since officially wrapping up royal duties in March, Meghan and Harry have enjoyed the freedom their non-senior royal status affords them.

They have publically shared their views on divisive matters and raised eyebrows among traditionalists when they encouraged Americans to vote in the last US election.

The couple have also signed lucrative commercial deals with Netflix and Spotify and are on the books of celebrity speakers agency Harry Walker.

In the year since removing themselves from the Fold, Meghan and Harry’s actions have prompted speculation as to whether they might lose their royal titles going forward.

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In the exit deal the couple agreed with Queen Elizabeth II, 94, it was decided they could keep their HRH styles and Duke and Duchess of Sussex titles if they upheld the crown’s values and did not use the word ‘royal’ in conjunction with their work going forward.

However, critics of the couple have claimed their recent commercial activity and the freedom with which they express their views should see them stripped of their royal status for good.

According to a constitutional expert, there is no royal precedent for removing Meghan and Harry’s status but if the Queen so chooses she could class the couple as “enemies of the state” in order to push the move through.

Constitutional expert Iain MacMarthanne told Express.co.uk: “It is now a year since the duke and duchess of Sussex announced their intended withdrawal from front line royal duties.

“The agreement that was reached facilitating this move is due to be reviewed in March.

“At this juncture whether or not their activities this past year have met with their undertakings will be considered.

“They accepted that they would in no way act or behave in a manner which would undermine the crown, whether or not this condition has been satisfied will be for the Queen and her advisors to determine.”

He added: “Beyond this group, any consideration of the matter is pure speculation.

“What is certain though is that the monarchy exists to survive and unless under threat does so through precedent, where no precedent exists or the threat is great the monarchy simply acts.”

He added: “As far as the Sussexes and their royal titles are concerned it is clear that any conversation concerning their future use of their titles will be new territory, particularly given the level of speculation as to whether or not they should be stripped of them.

“As things presently stand there is no real precedent to follow should there be a desire, or wish, to remove them.”


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Mr MacMarthanne added: “What should be kept in mind is that the style and title HRH and prince is quite separate to the peerage of Sussex.

“The peerage can be disclaimed by the duke under legislation passed in 1963, but the peerage remains live and can be inherited by the next male heir upon the death of the holder, albeit disclaimed – in this instance Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, otherwise the earl of Dumbarton.”

According to Mr MacMarthanne an act of parliament could be used to remove Harry’s dukedom, a “draconian” move usually only employed for those deemed “traitorous to the crown.”

He said: “Alternatively it would require an act of parliament and royal assent to remove the peerage under forfeiture.

“Such a step would be draconian and has historically only been used against those considered traitorous to the crown.

“Even if the peerage were to be removed there remains the matter of the style and title HRH and prince.”

The expert added: “By the precedent established at the time of Edward VIII’s abdication, it could be expected that if the Sussex peerage were disclaimed or forfeited then the duke would revert to being HRH Prince Henry (Harry) of Wales, becoming HRH The Prince Henry upon the succession of his father.

“In this case the duchess she would become HRH Princess Henry of Wales, thereafter HRH The Princess Henry.

“That all said, the style and title HRH and prince or princess is within the gift of the monarch.

“It is, therefore, conceivable for these to be removed, as was the case when George V stripped several persons of such styles and titles in 1917, persons who were deemed enemies of the state.

“Again this is draconian, and it should be remembered that the duke and duchess voluntarily gave up the use of their HRH styles last year.”

Whether or not the Queen will go to these lengths to strip the couple of their royal status remains to be seen.

Mr MacMarthanne added: “Whether or not this might become formalised in some other way is speculation, but given their activities this year it ultimately will remain a talking point for interested parties until resolved one way or another.”

The royal expert claimed Meghan and Harry’s recent commercial activity has raised questions as to whether the couple need their royal titles at all.

He said: “Ultimately the question must be begged: forging the life they now are, abroad, what need have they of any royal title?

“If their brand has real value it will survive without such window dressings as styles and titles – it was after all the very point the Earl Spencer made about his sister, Diana, Princess of Wales, on the occasion of her funeral.

“What has become clear is that for traditionalists and purveyors of precedent the Sussexes are skating on thin ice.

“Whether they have breached their agreement in ‘law’ or the ‘spirit’ of it, the fact remains there is a body of thought that believes their present activities are not commensurate with holding any royal title.”

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