Prince Harry’s title has been a topic of much discussion and speculation ever since he stepped back from his royal duties in 2020. As the younger son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, Harry was born His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales. However, following his exit from working royal life, questions arose around whether he would retain his HRH status and what his title would become.
What was Prince Harry’s title before stepping back from royal duties?
Prior to exiting his senior royal role, Prince Harry held multiple titles:
- His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales
- The Duke of Sussex
- Earl of Dumbarton
- Baron Kilkeel
As the son of the Prince of Wales, Harry was entitled to the HRH title from birth. He received the dukedom of Sussex from Queen Elizabeth II on his wedding day in 2018, along with the other subsidiary titles.
Did he retain HRH status after stepping back?
When Harry and his wife Meghan Markle announced their decision to step down as senior working royals in January 2020, questions swirled about whether Harry would be allowed to keep his HRH title. However, a statement from Buckingham Palace confirmed that the couple would retain their HRH prefixes, although they would no longer use the stylings “HRH” in an official capacity:
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will retain their “HRH” styles, but they will not use them. The couple have shared their wish to repay taxpayers’ money for the refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, which will remain their UK family home.
This means that while legally Harry remains HRH Prince Henry, he will not use it actively in public life. By contrast, Prince Andrew was stripped of his HRH title in 2022 amid the scandal surrounding his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein.
What is Prince Harry’s title now?
Currently, Prince Harry goes by the following title:
- The Duke of Sussex
He continues to be known as the Duke of Sussex, along with his subsidiary Earl of Dumbarton and Baron Kilkeel titles. This represents his main active title in public and private life post-exit.
Why is he still the Duke of Sussex?
There are a few key reasons why Harry retains his Duke of Sussex title:
- The dukedom was a gift from the Queen on his wedding day and reflects his status as a senior royal
- Removing peerage titles is complex and rare; Harry would have to voluntarily apply for removal
- Allowing him to remain Duke demonstrates he is still valued member of the family despite stepping back
Essentially, as the dukedom was intended to be a lifelong gift, there were no plans to strip Harry of the title. The Queen was making a show of support by allowing Harry and Meghan to keep their Sussex titles in their new, independent lives.
Could he ever lose the Sussex title?
While highly unlikely, there are a few scenarios in which Harry could cease being the Duke of Sussex:
- He voluntarily applies to the Crown to have the peerage removed. This would require lengthy legal processes.
- Parliament passes a law removing the title. This would require approval from the House of Commons and Lords.
- The Sovereign (Charles III) issues letters patent removing the title. This remains the monarch’s prerogative.
However, none of these prospects seems probable at this point. The royal family seems intent on preserving Harry’s family status despite the tensions.
What is the precedence for royal titles after exiting duties?
There is limited precedence for royal titles being impacted by a step back from duties. When King Edward VIII abdicated the throne in 1936 to marry Wallis Simpson, he was granted a new title as the Duke of Windsor. However, he was not allowed to retain his HRH style. Similarly, when Princess Diana and Prince Charles divorced in 1996, Diana lost her HRH title.
Harry represents a unique middle ground case, where he remains in the royal fold while also distancing himself from formal duties. The agreement for him to retain the Duke title reflects this nuanced position.
Will Meghan Markle and Archie also retain their titles?
Yes, Meghan and Archie both retain their royal titles alongside Harry:
- Meghan is still the Duchess of Sussex
- Archie remains Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor
As Harry’s wife and son, their titles are inextricably linked to his. There are also indications that when Charles becomes King, Archie could become Prince Archie, as the son of a duke. However, Harry and Meghan may opt to not use the prince title.
Could future children receive prince/princess titles?
If Harry and Meghan have more children in the future, convention indicates that:
- Sons would be styled Lord [First name] Mountbatten-Windsor
- Daughters would be styled Lady [First name] Mountbatten-Windsor
However, when Charles ascends the throne, Harry’s future children would be eligible to become HRH Prince/Princess as grandchildren of the Sovereign under George V’s 1917 decree:
The grandchildren of the sons of any such Sovereign in the direct male line (save only the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales) shall have and enjoy in all occasions the style and title enjoyed by the children of Dukes of these Our Realms.
So theoretically, any future son or daughter of Harry and Meghan could receive HRH titles if desired. But the Sussexes may opt to not use princely titles, similar to Princess Anne’s children.
Will Lilibet ever become Princess Lilibet?
As the great-granddaughter of the Queen, there was some expectation that Harry and Meghan’s daughter Lilibet “Lili” Diana would be entitled to become Princess Lilibet. However, based on current guidelines, Lili is not qualified for princess status.
Under George V’s 1917 decree, the great-grandchild of a sovereign does not automatically qualify as a prince or princess. As the daughter of a duke, she can use the courtesy title Lady Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor if desired. But she is not entitled to be HRH Princess Lilibet.
That said, if Charles decides to issue new letters patent expanding princely titles to great-grandchildren when he is King, Lili could potentially gain princess status as a gesture of goodwill to Harry and Meghan.
Can the Sussex children ever inherit peerages?
Another consideration is whether Harry and Meghan’s children will ever inherit their father’s peerage titles. The current line of succession is:
- Prince Harry – 1st Duke of Sussex
- Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor – 2nd Duke of Sussex
So if all goes expected, Archie will eventually inherit the dukedom from Harry. Any younger sons of Harry and Meghan would then be in line to inherit it after Archie. This means that the Sussex title will likely stay within the family for generations.
While relinquishing his HRH stylings, Prince Harry retains his Duke of Sussex title and remains a full-fledged member of the royal family. His wife and children also continue using their royal titles. This represents a new model of balancing duties with private lives for royalty. The Queen’s decision to maintain the Sussex title reflects Harry’s ongoing place in the Windsor dynasty, even as he lives abroad. While complex, the agreement represents the best path for sustaining family bonds while also charting new territory for how royals can change their roles over time.