How Sussex Royal loss will impact Harry and Meghan

Rebecca Taylor
Royal Correspondent
Harry and Meghan will likely lose the royal part of their branding. (Getty Images)

As professionals, businesses and celebrities alike will know, getting your branding right is crucial to success.

With that in mind, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle suffered a blow this week when it emerged they will be unable to continue using the moniker Sussex Royal as they step back from senior duties.

The Queen reportedly banned the duo from using their ‘Sussex Royal’ brand after the couple stepped down as working royals. 

The couple announced in January that they wanted to carve out their own path, and hoped to be able to carry on serving the Queen but also gain financial independence.

The couple will still have a huge amount of personal brand power. (Getty Images)

That meant giving up royal duties for which they receive payment from the Crown.

But, after intense talks between Buckingham Palace and the couple’s team, it became clear they would not be able to have a half-in, half-out lifestyle.

According to the Daily Mail, the 93-year-old Queen and palace aides have decided that due to the Sussexes no longer residing in the UK or taking part in official royal duties, it no longer makes sense for them to keep using the word ‘royal’ in their brand. 

It’s been all over their website and their Instagram account, but now it seems they won’t be able to use it, with the palace likely to rule against the word.

A brand overhaul in order

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been living in Canada with their son Archie. (Getty Images)

Thomas Coop, a trademark attorney said the Queen is within her rights to remove the use of the ‘royal’ title, but it seems the monarch is backpedalling on a previous promise.

“Trade Mark applications... can be refused if the products or services covered by the application would lead people to believe that there is an association with the Queen or the Royal Family,” he explained.

“It is interesting to see that Harry and Meghan's UK trademark application for SUSSEX ROYAL was published.”

“Therefore, it is possible that the Queen consented to the initial application and has, therefore, now withdrawn this consent.”

He says in the UK the pair will need to carefully consider their next step and may need a brand overhaul.

“Overall, as the UK is likely to be an important market for Harry and Meghan, they will probably need to consider rebranding or come to some new arrangement with the Queen so they can

gain the benefits of having registered protection for their brand name, such as making it much simpler to enforce against other parties,” he said.

‘Royal’ title not of huge importance

Prince Harry and Meghan will be able to make their own money from April. (Getty Images)

Brand expert Deborah Ogden told Yahoo UK the loss will have a minimal impact.

“They will lose some value from the Sussex Royal brand but my belief is that Prince Harry will always be Prince Harry therefore in the UK market, the American market, and the global markets that recognise the British Royal Family, I’m not sure taking it away will have a huge impact,” she said.

Zoe Middleton-Lyons, senior account manager for branding agency Underscore, agreed it may not be all bad news for the young royals.

“Change is beneficial for brands whether it is a new tone of voice, brand name or internal business changes,” she says.

“This is especially true for Meghan and Harry at such a crucial stage in their lives, as they can begin to create their own legacy.”

Coop said the Sussexes might be able to get some temporary protection from EU law, because those provisions of the use of the word royal are not the same as in the UK.

But this wouldn’t last past the end of the transition period, which finishes on 31 December 2020.

Buckingham Palace confirmed the Sussexes would end their royal duties from 31 March, meaning from 1 April onwards they can make their own money.