Council debates stripping Harry and Meghan of royal title

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Dubbo, Australia
Harry and Meghan are the subject of a petition calling for the removal of their titles. Photo: Getty Images

Looks like Sussex wants nothing to do with its Duke and Duchess.

A petition calling for the revocation of Harry and Meghan’s titles, that has picked up steam over this year, will appear before a local council to be debated on Friday.

The petition, from a member of the Brighton-Hove Council, which falls into the larger Sussex area, calls for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to be stripped of their royal titles, arguing the title the pair carries is ‘morally wrong and disrespectful to the county of East Sussex’.

It attracted just shy of four thousand votes in the six months it was active and has now prompted the matter to appear before the council for debate.

The author of the impassioned petition is Charles Ross, a resident of the area, and he argues an anti-monarchist line that stretches far beyond Meghan and Harry.

The petition’s demands

Screenshot of an online petition from Brighton and Hove City Council calling for the removal of the Sussex title from Meghan and Harry
The petition wrapped up on December 18th with almost 4000 signatures. Photo: Brighton and Hove City Council

The full petition is still on the council website but ability to sign wrapped up on December 18th.

Among the demands are the removal of the pair’s titles and that the council no longer ‘entertain’ or ‘afford hospitality’ to the royal couple in their official capacity.

“We the undersigned petition Brighton and Hove Council to reject the usage of the titles ‘Duke of Sussex’ and ‘Duchess of Sussex’ by the individuals Henry (‘Harry’) Windsor and Rachel Meghan Markle as morally wrong and disrespectful to the county of East Sussex,” the petition kicks off.

“As residents of Brighton and Hove we call on Brighton and Hove Council to not refer to these individuals by such titles which we believe to be entirely non-democratic and symbolic of the oppression of the general public by the wealthy elite.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex visit Brighton in Sussex
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex may not be so welcome the next time they visit Sussex. Photo: Getty Images

“Neither will Brighton Council invite or entertain these individuals nor afford them any hospitality or courtesies above and beyond that of an ordinary member of the public.”

Though it seems a pointed stab at the pair, it turns out it may be less personal that it first appears.

The petition is followed by a note explaining it intends to set a ‘precedent’ in a bid to remove aristocratic titles altogether.

“The petition aims to establish a precedent that Brighton and Hove Council will no longer afford official hospitality to those with Royal or aristocratic titles,” the petition signs off.

Monarchists slam the move

The petition has clearly gathered significant local support, however monarchists are aghast at the republican-minded move, slamming it as ‘disrespectful’.

“This certainly highlights that Brighton and Hove is a hotbed of Republican dissidents and is now proven to be so,” said chair of the British Monarchist Foundation Thomas Archer-Mills in a statement.

“Such a petition shows utter disdain and contempt for The Crown, not to mention copious amounts of disrespect to, and for, the Royal family which undertakes thousands of engagements per year on behalf of the nation, in right of Her Majesty as The Crown.”

In reality, even if the council were to move on the issue, the titles bestowed on the pair by the Queen would have to be removed by her as well.

Queen Elizabeth II in Berlin, Germany
The Queen has weathered a tumultuous year. photo: Getty Images

The move is a largely symbolic one in the republican movement within the United Kingdom.

Though the idea of England without tiaras and prince’s seems a truly foreign concept, the country did briefly foray into republicanism in the late 17th century, between 1649 and 1658, but soon restored the constitutional monarchy that is in place today.

There are still loud factions who argue for the removal of the monarchy within the nation as well as in countries like Australia that remain part of the Commonwealth.

A scandal-riddled year for the royals

The petition comes on the back of a tumultuous year for the Royal family, which saw Prince Andrew stood down from royal duties after his attempt to address allegations of sexual assault and his friendship with convicted paedophile Jefferey Epstein backfired.

Harry and Meghan were also heavily criticised in the press over their controversial pursuit of privacy and later hit back with a copyright suit again The Mail on Sunday.

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