Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will not be able to use the 'Sussex Royal' branding they had planned on, it's been reported. But the reason why - as will inevitably be suggested - has nothing to do with any kind of 'point scoring' from the royal family to make commercial ventures difficult for the couple.
When they announced their intention to step back as senior members of the royal family in early January, it became clear that Meghan and Harry had been working on these plans for some time. Coinciding with their bombshell of an Instagram statement came the publication of a swish new website - Sussexroyal.com - along with branding featuring the couple's famous monogram.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex had also trademarked the name 'Sussex Royal' in the months previous, copyrighting various items and services including clothing - encompassing sportswear, dresses, headbands and jackets - and 'printed matters', such as newspapers and magazines.
The plan, it's been reported, was for their former royal highnesses to ultimately launch a not-for-profit organisation under the same brand name: Sussex Royal, The Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. But under this recent decision, they will have to re-think that name.
Also likely affected will be Meghan and Harry's Instagram account, which has @SussexRoyal as the handle. Their follow count currently stands at a hefty 11.2 million - exactly the same as their brother-and-sister-in-law Prince William and Kate Middleton's @KensingtonRoyal account. It's unlikely, following this development, that the Sussex Royal account will have to be completely shut down - but will instead probably have to undergo a name change.
According to the Daily Mail, the "fine detail" of this "complex" situation is still being ironed out, but Meghan and Harry have reportedly accepted with understanding that they will no longer be allowed to use the Sussex Royal name as intended.
So why has this bold decision been made? Ultimately, it comes down to the fact that if the couple are no longer working royals, it would be misleading to allow them to use the term 'royal' in any commercial ventures. Largely, however, it seems the choice was out of the Queen's hands. Because even if she wanted to make an exception for her grandson - who is still very much considered a valued member of the family - there are laws in place to prevent misuse of the term 'royal'.
As royal biographer Robert Hardman points out in a piece for the Mail, "the Queen is actually governed by several pieces of legislation, including the Trade Marks Act 1994 and even the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property of 1883.
"The Sussexes have not picked a fight with the Queen but with the law of the land," the expert notes.
There have long been legal disputes over brands that allude to royalty - including over the use of a crown motif on a cereal packet (yes, really) - so it seems this is just another case of "protecting the public from fraud and misrepresentation", as Hardman puts it.
While it must be frustrating for the Sussexes, having put so much time and money into the creation of the Sussex Royal brand, they will no doubt understand the reasons why the decision has been taken.
So, back to the drawing board it is, then. Any prizes available for the person who comes up with the next-best suggestion?
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