Once again, it’s being written that Prince Harry and Meghan have been stripped of their titles. This time, because someone noticed that they were still being referred to with their HRH style on the official website.
The current website of the royal family shows the Duchess of Sussex not being referred to as Her Royal Highness1, while an archived version from 20 May 2018 shows her being referred to as Her Royal Highness.2 The link to her page also changed somewhere in between to include “the” in her title.
There are two separate things to look at: the peerage and the HRH. By birth, Harry is His Royal Highness Prince Henry (Harry) of Wales. Upon his wedding day, he was granted the Dukedom of Sussex, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, with the subsidiary titles of Earl of Dumbarton and Baron Kilkeel. Upon marriage, Meghan began to share his status and rank, becoming The Duchess of Sussex with the status of a Princess. She does not carry a title in her own right, and if any titles are removed, they must be removed from Prince Harry.
Firstly, a peerage, in this case, The Dukedom of Sussex and its subsidiary titles, cannot be removed unless by Act of Parliament. This has only ever been done once before in modern times. The Titles Deprivation Act 19173 was used to remove the peerages of enemies of the United Kingdom during the First World War.
Secondly, the styling of HRH was discussed, and it was announced that the Duke and Duchess would not use the style of HRH, but they still retain the style. This is due to the 1917 Letters Patent, which limits the title and style of HRH Prince or Princess to the children of the sovereign, the grandchildren of the sovereign in the male line, and the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales. In 2012, this was expanded to include all the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales, ensuring that both Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis were born Prince and Princess.
The announcement said, “The Sussexes will not use their HRH titles as they are no longer working members of the Royal Family.”4 Nowhere here does it say the HRH was removed or “stripped”, nor were there any Letters Patent issued. I’m not sure the removal from the website of the HRH was necessary, but it was apparently made necessary when someone brought it up. After all, it wasn’t them using the style.