Prince Harry and Meghan will no longer use royal titles
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II acknowledged the "challenges" Prince Harry and Meghan have faced following their wish to step back from their roles in a statement today accompanying news that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will no longer use their royal titles.
"Following many months of conversations and more recent discussions, I am pleased that together we have found a constructive and supportive way forward for my grandson and his family," the Queen said today in a statement. "Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family."
The Queen added: "I recognise the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life. I want to thank them for all their dedicated work across this country, the Commonwealth and beyond, and am particularly proud of how Meghan has so quickly become one of the family. It is my whole family’s hope that today’s agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life."
Prince Harry and Meghan received the titles of His and Her Royal Highness upon marriage in May 2018.
Harry's full title was His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton and Baron Kilkeel while Meghan became known as Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex. She was the first person to hold that title.
The only previous person to hold the title of Duke of Sussex was an anti-slavery campaigner and supporter of rights for Catholics and Jews, according to the Royal Collection. Prince Augustus Frederick, son of George III and Queen Charlotte, gained the title in 1801.
The titles are granted under the British monarchy's system of "peerage," which traces back to feudal times. Originally, the monarch would bestow titles on servants who pledged loyalty in exchange for protection or land, making them a peer of the realm. Today, it is used for relatives of the monarch.
Titles are decided by the Queen when a relative either comes of age or gets married.
The Queen can choose from five titles for a man -- duke, marquess, earl, viscount or baron -- and for a woman -- duchess, marchioness, countess, viscountess and baroness. Dukedom is the highest of all five.
Typically, family members are given the titles of Duke and Duchess, but the Queen can choose to bestow more than one title.
In the case of Prince Harry's brother, Prince William, he and his wife, Kate Middleton, became the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, but the Queen also granted Prince William the titles of Earl of Strathearn and Baron Carrickfergus.
Prince Charles -- Harry and William's father -- is the Duke of Cornwall, and the Queen's second son, Prince Andrew, was given the title Duke of York.
But breaking with tradition was the Queen's youngest son, Prince Edward, who chose the title Earl of Wessex when he married.
Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, will no longer use the titles His and Her Royal Highness after announcing they would step back from their roles as senior members of the royal family, Buckingham Palace announced today.
The couple will also repay the Sovereign Grant funds they recently spent to renovate their official residence, Frogmore Cottage -- £2.4 million (about $3 million) of British taxpayers' money, according to figures released last year.
The royal family has been discussing Prince Harry and Meghan's future after the couple made a surprise announcement that they would step back from their roles as senior members of the royal family, split their time between the United Kingdom and North America and become financially independent.