Prince Harry Might Lose His Royal Titles If He Becomes an American Citizen

 An old U.S. law could require Prince Harry to forfeit all of his British titles if he becomes a U.S. citizen.

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  • Following their royal exit, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have reportedly moved to Los Angeles.
  • If the couple settles permanently in the United States, it could have implications for Harry's royal titles.
  • If Harry decides to apply for U.S. citizenship, he would be forced, under U.S. law, to renounce all foreign titles.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (opens in new tab) have officially retained their "HRH" titles (opens in new tab), even though they've agreed not to use them anymore (opens in new tab) following their royal exit. Now that the Sussexes seem to have started the process of settling in Los Angeles (opens in new tab), however, Harry's titles (opens in new tab) could be in jeopardy.

The issue would arise if Harry decides to apply for American citizenship (opens in new tab). As The Sun (opens in new tab) points out, there's an American law that states anyone seeking naturalization must renounce any foreign titles. The relevant part of the law comes from 8 USC section 1448, subsection (b), which states:

"In case the person applying for naturalization has borne any hereditary title, or has been of any of the orders of nobility in any foreign state, the applicant shall in addition to complying with the requirements of subsection (a) of this section, make under oath in the same public ceremony in which the oath of allegiance is administered, an express renunciation of such title or order of nobility, and such renunciation shall be recorded as a part of such proceedings."

Interestingly enough, Meghan Markle (opens in new tab) is allowed to keep her titles, by U.S. law anyway. Although the Constitution prohibits the U.S. government from granting titles of nobility, it doesn't prohibit citizens from accepting titles from foreign governments. An amendment that would force citizens who accept foreign titles to renounce their U.S. citizenship was proposed, but never ratified (opens in new tab).

Of course, since Meghan's royal titles (opens in new tab) are directly tied to Harry's, if he renounced his titles, hers would almost certainly go with them. Harry will only face these complications if he applies for citizenship, however. If he opts to maintain permanent resident status (opens in new tab) (more commonly known as obtaining a "green card"), he won't be under any obligation to renounce his royal titles and could still live in the U.S. indefinitely.

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Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional experience. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.