Duchess of Sussex abandons plans to become a UK citizen

Victoria Ward
·2-min read
The Duchess of Sussex - Jeremy Selwyn/Evening Standard/PA
The Duchess of Sussex - Jeremy Selwyn/Evening Standard/PA

The Duchess of Sussex has abandoned plans to become a UK citizen, The Telegraph understands, one year after stepping back from royal life.

Despite tentatively starting the process when she married Prince Harry, the Duchess found no reason to pursue it after they decided to set up home in California.

It was one year on Friday that the couple made the bombshell announcement that they no longer wanted to be working members of the Royal Family.

Regret and sadness were expressed on both sides, but within three months, a deal had been struck with Buckingham Palace and the couple left the UK to embark on their new lives with the Queen’s blessing.

Since then, it has become ever clearer that the young family has no plans to return. 

Having purchased a sprawling mansion in the exclusive enclave of Montecito in Santa Barbara, the Sussexes have gradually announced a string of lucrative long-term business deals and investments, and plan to enrol their son, Archie, in a local school.

Reports that they are seeking a one-year extension to the so-called “Megxit” deal agreed with the Royal Family are wide off  the mark, however.

Neither the Sussexes nor senior royals see any need to extend a deal that was simply considered a time period to transition, and focused on issues such as security and finances.

The only outstanding matters for debate are the Duke’s honorary military titles, which were removed for a one-year period, and their patronages.

Discussions will take place on those matters before an announcement is made in due course, although it is widely expected that the titles, at least, will be transferred to other members of the family. 

With no plans to return, there was “no reason” to pursue the Duchess’s application for dual citizenship, a source confirmed, and the process was quietly dropped.

The landscape has changed dramatically since Kensington Palace announced in November 2017 that the then-Meghan Markle would apply to become a British citizen when she married into the Royal Family.

Aides made clear at the time that the former American actress would not jump the queue and would undertake the process, which takes several years, like anyone else.

Under strict Home Office rules, she would have been eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain after three years, which would have been last November, before seeking citizenship.

However, in order to do so, she would have had to limit the number of days she spent abroad during that time to less than 270, something she failed to do.

Similarly, The Telegraph understands that the Duke has no plans to seek US citizenship.