Royal race row 'smear' sparks 'nuclear option' bid at Westminster to strip Harry and Meghan of titles

A law change is being sought by a Tory MP to strip the Duke and Duchess of Sussex of their titles over the royal racism row.

Condemning the "poisonously insidious" smear against senior members of the household, Bob Seely wants to update wartime powers that would pave the way for the couple to be Mr and Mrs Sussex.

Referring to it as the "nuclear option", the Isle of Wight MP argued Harry and Meghan "should not keep the titles and privileges if they trash an institution that plays an important part in our nation's life".

He has moved to act after the King and Princess of Wales were named in the Dutch version of a new book as the two royals who raised "concerns" about what skin colour the duke and duchess's unborn son Archie would have.

When the unsubstantiated allegation first surfaced two years ago, Buckingham Palace dismissed it as fiction.

But the controversy was reignited this week after a translation of Omid Scobie's book, Endgame, pointed the finger at the leading royals.

The Dutch edition made headlines around the world and saw the book pulled from shelves in the Netherlands over the "error".

Mr Scobie has denied it was a "publicity stunt" and insisted he "never submitted a book that had their names in it".

In the wake of the latest furore, Mr Seely is looking to introduce his Titles Deprivation 1917 Amendment Bill at Westminster.

It would adapt a law originally passed to deny enemy German nobles their British titles during the First World War, by removing references to "enemies" and "present war".

Read more:
Who is Omid Scobie and what are his links to the royals?
Five revelations from Omid Scobie's controversial new book

Writing in The Mail on Sunday, Mr Seely said: "I'm not a republican and support the monarchy, but after the latest instalment of the couple's feud with the rest of the Royal Family, I believe that parliament and the privy council should consider a nuclear option.

"The duke and duchess can be Mr and Mrs like the rest of us.

"My Titles Deprivation 1917 Act Amendment Bill would allow a vote in parliament to advise the ancient advisory privy council to strip a member of the Royal Family of their titles.

"My aim is simple: if someone doesn't want to be royal, that is a decision we respect - but they should not keep the titles and privileges if they trash an institution that plays an important part in our nation's life.

"Sources close to the Sussexes have stressed that Harry and Meghan are not behind claims made in Omid Scobie's book. But I suspect that few people believe such denials."

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He added: "Of all Scobie's allegations, the use of race to smear the Royal Family is the most poisonously insidious, guaranteed to leave a whiff of stigma and impossible to prove when false. It is the catch-all slur of the modern era.

"The allegations jar with so much of what we know about the royals and this country. The late Queen and King Charles have done extraordinary work over decades reaching out to everyone in the country, including ethnic minorities and those from Commonwealth nations."

Mr Seely went on: "It is time for us all to move on.

"I believe it is time they dropped their titles - or were made to - and lived by their own talents, if they have any to speak of."