Sussex Royal brand will stay for now: Harry and Meghan are to continue running trademarked Sussex Royal brand despite agreeing not to use their HRH titles
- The announcement made yesterday marked the conclusion of ‘Megxit’ talks
- Couple to be known as Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex
- Source said striping them of their HRH titles entirely seemed too extreme
Harry and Meghan will continue to operate their trademarked Sussex Royal brand despite agreeing not to use their royal titles.
As part of their independence deal agreed by the Queen, they will keep their HRH titles but will not use them once they cease to be working royals.
They will not be addressed as His or Her Royal Highness, but will be Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.
Their decision to step back from royal duties had led to speculation they could be stripped of their HRH titles, and may no longer be able to use Sussex Royal.
But a source said such a move was considered too extreme, and could have been problematic for the Royal Family in the future.
The insider added that a final decision on Sussex Royal will be made after further negotiations, but the brand would refer to the couple’s soon-to-be announced charitable foundation and not commercial activities.
The source said: ‘There are still a lot of details to be worked out, but if it’s the use of the word “royal” in a charitable sense, then what is the problem?’
A Buckingham Palace announcement made yesterday marked the conclusion of ‘Megxit’ talks. The couple will be known as as Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (pictured leaving Canada House, London, earlier this month)
Had Harry and Meghan been stripped of their titles completely, they would have been considered junior to other members of the family, such as Prince Andrew’s daughters Beatrice and Eugenie.
That could have led to the embarrassing prospect of Meghan having to curtsey to the princesses.
The HRH title was taken from Harry’s mother Diana and his aunt Sarah Ferguson after they divorced, but he was born a royal, so the Queen would have had to issue a Letters Patent to remove it.
Applications have already been made to trademark the Sussex Royal brand, which is at the centre of the couple’s social media presence, including their website and Twitter and Instagram accounts.
They will be free to make commercial deals without the involvement of Buckingham Palace, but aides have insisted such arrangements will be ‘respectful’ of the Queen.
They have not yet signed any contracts and have agreed not to become brand ambassadors for any big companies. Instead, they are expected to seek commercial deals that complement causes close to their charitable interests.
Harry has signed up as co-creator and executive producer on an Apple TV documentary on mental health with US broadcaster Oprah Winfrey, due to be screened this year.
Prince Harry and Meghan unveiled a slick new website just moments after announcing they were stepping back from royal duties
He is understood to have asked for his fee to be donated to mental health organisations.
Meghan has also agreed to provide a voiceover for a Disney film in exchange for a donation to a conservation charity.
In future, they could be paid for such agreements, although they will inevitably face accusations that they are cashing in on Harry’s royal background. Meghan’s father Thomas Markle has already voiced concerns that they will ‘cheapen’ the Royal Family.
In a documentary for Channel 5, Mr Markle will say his daughter had lived every girl’s princess dream when she married Harry.
But he added: ‘Now… it looks like she’s tossing that away for money.
‘Apparently $3million and a 26-bedroom home isn’t enough for them. It’s kind of embarrassing to me. This is like one of the greatest long-living institutions ever. They are destroying it… cheapening it, making it shabby… turning it into a Walmart with a crown on it.’
Harry and Meghan need an income to replace the estimated £2million a year from the taxpayer-funded Sovereign Grant, which supports the most senior royals.
Prince Charles is expected to support Harry financially for at least a year. Harry also has his own wealth, including an estimated £20million inheritance from Princess Diana and £7million from the Queen Mother. Meghan is thought to be worth £4million.
Couple will keep string of private patronages
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will keep most of their patronages.
The couple will continue to support many of the organisations they worked with as royals, but in a private capacity.
The statement from Buckingham Palace on Saturday night said the pair would ‘maintain their private patronages and associations’. Although they would no longer ‘formally represent’ the Queen, they would ‘continue to uphold’ her values.
Within hours of the statement, the Rugby Football League said it was ‘delighted’ to continue its work with Prince Harry. A spokesman said the duke had ‘shown a genuine commitment’, and it looked forward to a future relationship.
Map Ives, director and founder of Rhino Conservation Botswana, echoed those comments, adding that the group had been told by an official in Harry’s office that he ‘wants to continue’ his patronage.
Meghan will continue to work on causes for women. She is to remain the patron of the charity SmartWorks, which provides clothes and mentoring for women seeking employment.
The duchess is also the patron of the Royal National Theatre and the Association of Commonwealth Universities, as well as animal welfare charity Mayhew.
Similarly, Harry will continue to work with the Invictus Games, which he established in 2014, as well as Sentebale, which helps children affected by HIV in Lesotho and Botswana. But the step down from royal duties means he will no longer be afforded the honorary military positions he held.
The Invictus Games Foundation said: ‘As evidenced by the Duke of Sussex recently announcing the sixth Invictus Games… we are confident of the continued commitment to wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women, and of the role the duke will continue to play in the planning and promotion of the Invictus Games as patron.’
A spokesman for The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust said: ‘I can confirm that the duke and duchess continue as president and vice-president.’
By Alex Ward