Why Harry and Meghan still have royal titles

Critics have suggested that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's new website's use of their royal titles and crest is inappropriate

DUSSELDORF, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 16: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex are seen during the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games Düsseldorf 2023 at Merkur Spiel-Arena on September 16, 2023 in Duesseldorf, Germany. (Photo by Joshua Sammer/Getty Images)
What are Harry and Meghan's titles and why do they use them? (Getty)

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have relaunched their website, calling it Sussex.com and using their royal titles of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and coat of arms.

The couple remain members of the Royal family, but controversially stepped back from official royal duties in what was dubbed by many as 'Megxit'.

Since then they have had several websites, including 'sussexroyal.com' which was launched in 2020 and Archewell - based on the name of their foundation inspired by son Archie - and now Sussex.com. Both previous sites now redirect to the new site, which was launched this week.

It features a picture of the couple overlaid with the text: 'The Office of Prince Harry & Meghan, The Duke & Duchess of Sussex', and includes their credentials, as well as news about their activities.

But the launch of the site has prompted questions and criticism from some quarters as to why it still users their royal titles and crest when the couple have distanced themselves from the royal family, with some sources suggesting it marked a 'royal rebranding'.

However, one source suggested the couple were well within their rights to use the titles they have retained despite stepping back as senior royals, reportedly saying: "Prince Harry and Meghan are the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. That is a fact. It is their surname and family name."

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Why did Harry and Meghan leave the Royal Family?

Harry and Meghan stepped down as senior royals in January 2020, saying they wanted to "carve out a progressive new role" within the royal family, working to become financially independent while supporting the Queen and to split their time between the UK and US.

They went on to launch their first website, sussexroyal.com, which included their plans to work differently with the media. This included no longer participating in the Royal Rota system, engaging with "grassroots media organisations and young, up-and-coming journalists", and sharing information directly with the public via their own official communications channels.

In February 2021 Buckingham Palace confirmed that Harry and Meghan wouldn't return as working members of the royal family. In the last few years, the difficult relationship between the couple and the royal family has continued to come under the spotlight, including various interviews they have given which included accusations levelled at members of Harry's family and the royal household.

What royal titles do Harry and Meghan have?

When Harry and Meghan got married in 2018, Harry became His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex and Meghan became Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex. The Queen also granted Harry the Earldom of Dumbarton, used in Scotland, and Barony of Kilkeel in Northern Ireland.

But after the couple's 2020 announcement about stepping back, Buckingham Palace issued a statement saying the couple would no longer use the HRH prefix since they were "no longer working members of the Royal Family". Harry also gave up his three honorary military titles: Captain General of the Royal Marines, Honorary Air Commandant of RAF Honington and Commodore-in-Chief Small Ships and Diving.

However, the couple did keep their Duke and Duchess of Sussex titles. Asked in an interview in January 2023 why they hadn't renounced them, his answer was: 'And what difference would that make?"

When King Charles acceded to the throne, Meghan and Harry's children, Archie and Lilibet, became prince and princess, referred to as the Prince and Princess of Sussex.

Despite having served in the military, strict royal protocol saying that only working royals could wear military uniform to the Queen's funeral in 2022 meant Harry wore a suit.

Sussex Royal website
Harry and Meghan relaunched their website. (Sussex.com)

How do Harry and Meghan earn their money?

The previous sussexroyal.com website included information on how the couple are funded but their new website doesn't include the same information.

However, most of the Sussexes income is believed to come from their commercial arrangements, which have included programmes made for Netflix via their media company, Archewell Productions, such as a documentary on the couple themselves as well as the Heart of Invictus series.

Archewell also made podcasts for Spotify and Harry published his memoir, Spare, in January 2023.