Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Won’t Lose Their Royal Titles, Expert Says

The royal family is “trying to calm things, not trying to throw more grenades.”

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
(Image credit: Getty)

After Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s docuseries, aptly titled Harry & Meghan, premiered on Netflix in December, followed quickly by the publication of Harry’s bombshell memoir, Spare, earlier this month, the question on many royal followers’ lips has been this: Will the couple lose their Duke and Duchess of Sussex titles as a result of their outspokenness?

Royal expert Jonathan Sacerdoti tells Us Weekly that he doesn’t think the royal family will go that far—despite a member of British Parliament pushing to do so.

“The sense I get is that this is not something they want to do,” Sacerdoti tells the outlet of the royal family. “I think they’re trying to calm things, not trying to throw more grenades—[they’re] not trying to provoke any more than they’re being provoked.”

After Harry and Meghan’s step back as working members of the royal family three years ago, Her late Majesty allowed the couple to keep their Sussex titles, though they were no longer permitted to use the style “Royal Highness,” Us Weekly reports. Yet, in the aftermath of Spare—and its explosive contents—many are calling for King Charles to fight fire with fire.

“Trying to remove their titles by the King would be seen as perhaps an aggressive move, or at least Harry and Meghan could dress it up that way,” Sacerdoti says, adding that an action like that would only cause more drama. “I think perhaps they’re trying to spare us all of that misery as well. It’s just not necessarily on their agenda. They want to get on with doing the job of the royal family and try and avoid that.”

Yet not everyone does: Robert William Henry Seely, a member of British Parliament, is attempting to pass a law allowing the Sussexes status to be downgraded, Sacerdoti says.

“He’s pressing ahead with his attempt to pass legislation that would allow Harry and Meghan to be downgraded as royals,” he says. “He’s planning what’s called a Private Members Bill, which would allow a vote on taking away their titles. It’s aimed at dealing with what he called ‘bad royals’ to give support to the monarchy. He’s clear that this is in no way designed to embarrass the King or the royal family on his part.”

Harry himself addressed his and Meghan’s titles in an interview with Anderson Cooper earlier this month. After Cooper asked him why the pair haven’t renounced their titles themselves, the Duke of Sussex replied, “And what difference would that make?”

And, while Sacerdoti doesn’t think stripping the couple’s titles is likely, a different insider told Us Weekly that the option to do so is still very much on the table.

“The way to strike back would be to approve a measure whereby Harry and Meghan are stripped of their titles, and that’s a very real possibility—certainly if the toxicity doesn’t eventually subside,” the source says. “But, equally, there’s a strong belief that the best form of getting even or negating the Sussexes is to continue to ignore them and not feed into their drama and incessant attention seeking.”

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.