Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, leave Westminster Abbey in London in March.
(Associated Press)

Goodbye, your royal highnesses. Hello, life as — almost — ordinary civilians.

Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, are quitting as working royals and will no longer use the titles “royal highness” or receive public funds for their work under a deal announced Saturday by Buckingham Palace.

Releasing details of the dramatic split, triggered by the couple’s unhappiness with life under media scrutiny in the royal fishbowl, the palace said Harry and Meghan will cease to be working members of the royal family when the new arrangements take effect within months, in the “spring of 2020.”

The couple will no longer use the titles His Royal Highness and Her Royal Highness, but they are not being stripped of them.

The royal couple could migrate from Windsor Castle to the Great White North. That’s spurred questions: What about their security? Healthcare? Why Canada?


They will be known as Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. Harry will remain a prince and sixth in line to the British throne.

The agreement also calls for Meghan and Harry to repay 2.4 million pounds ($3.1 million) in taxpayers’ money that was spent renovating Frogmore Cottage, their home near Windsor Castle.

The couple’s departure is a wrench for the royal family, but Queen Elizabeth II had warm words for them in a statement Saturday.

The queen said she was pleased that “together we have found a constructive and supportive way forward for my grandson and his family. Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family.

“I recognize the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life,” Elizabeth said.

“It is my whole family’s hope that today’s agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life,” she added.

As part of their reduced role within the Royal household, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are changing their media strategy.

The announcement came after days of talks among royal courtiers sparked by Meghan and Harry’s announcement last week that they wanted to step back as senior royals and live part-time in Canada

The details of the deal solidify the couple’s dramatic break from life as working royals. Army veteran Harry will have to give up the military appointments he has as a senior royal.

While he and Meghan will no longer represent the queen, the palace said they would “continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty” while carrying out their private charitable work.

Buckingham Palace did not disclose who will pay for the couple’s security going forward. It currently is taxpayer-funded.

“There are well established independent processes to determine the need for publicly funded security,” it said.

Meghan, a native of Los Angeles, and Harry spent a six-week Christmas break on Vancouver Island.

Markle recently returned to Canada for a few days with the couple’s young son, Archie, as the royal family grappled with the fallout from the revelation that the Sussexes’ would step back from their royal duties while splitting their time between the United Kingdom and North America.

The former actress, who recently visited Vancouver’s Downtown Women’s Center, lived in Toronto for years while working on the TV series “Suits.”

In a bid to “reshape and broaden” access to their work, Meghan and Harry recently said on their website they would engage with specialist media and “young, up-and-coming journalists” and drop out of the Royal Rota system, a 40-year-old channel for exclusive access to British print and media outlets.

The couple have been vocal about the pain the intense media scrutiny has caused them, with certain media that have “vilified her almost daily,” Prince Harry said last year.

Times staff writers Nardine Saad and Anousha Sakoui contributed to this report