Royal POLL: Should the public decide if royals get to keep their titles?

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Prince Andrew: Ingrid Seward discusses Duke of York title

Members of the Royal Family are often granted peerages such as dukedoms or earldoms, which are associated with a certain area of the country. For example, Prince William is the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Edward is the Earl of Wessex.

However, recent royal scandals have led residents in certain areas to call for certain titles to be removed. 

For example, there have been calls from York residents and MPs to remove Prince Andrew’s title and connection as the Duke of York and similar appeals have been made in Sussex about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle about their Duke and Duchess of Sussex titles.

Royal expert Phil Dampier tweeted on March 25: “If the Duke of York is going to have his title stripped from him by the people of York presumably the people of #Sussex should also have a say?”

Should Harry and Meghan have their Duke and Duchess of Sussex titles removed?

Sussex residents are calling for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to have their titles as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex after they stepped back from their positions as senior members of the Royal Family in 2020.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Should Harry and Meghan have their Duke and Duchess of Sussex titles removed? (Image: Getty)

Harry and Meghan agreed not to use their HRH titles after stepping back, but continue to use their Duke and Duchess of Sussex titles as granted to them on their wedding day in 2018 by the Queen.

Before the couple moved to California – where they are raising their two children, Archie, two, and Lilibet, nine months – there was a petition created for the people of Sussex to “reject” the couple’s titles.

Campaigner Charles Ross created the petition in 2019 which called for Brighton and Hove City Council to “reject” Harry and Meghan as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Mr Ross said that the couple’s titles were “morally wrong and disrespectful to the county of East Sussex”.

The petition set out: “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.

“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”.

The petition gained 1,705 signatures and was debated further by the council in 2020 but no action was taken.

One resident, Liv Seabrook, reportedly said: “Our city has serious social problems and the council is going to waste time on the sentiment of a disgruntled citizen with nothing better to do than come up with a useless petition.

Councils do not have the power to strip the Royal family of their honorary titles.

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Should Andrew have his Duke of York title removed?

Prince Andrew stepped back from royal duties in 2019 following his Newsnight interview and criticism of his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein.

He later faced a tidal wave of criticism when Virginia Giuffre launched a civil lawsuit against him, claiming he sexually assaulted her three times in 2001 when she was 17.

Andrew vehemently denies the claims.

Earlier this year, a US judge dismissed Andrew’s lawyers’ attempts to get the case dismissed, ruling that it should go to court.

The Queen then stripped her second son of his military affiliations and royal patronages.

He also lost his right to use the title His Royal Highness in an official capacity.

Prince Andrew

Should Andrew have his Duke of York title removed? (Image: Getty)

In February, Andrew reached an out-of-court settlement with Ms Giuffre.

In a public statement, it was stated that Andrew “pledges to demonstrate his regret for his association with Epstein by supporting the fight against the evils of sex trafficking, and by supporting its victims.”

Despite losing most of his royal titles and associations, Andrew kept his Duke of York title, which he was given as a Wedding gift from the Queen in 1986. 

York residents have pushed for MPs to pass an Act of Parliament to formally withdraw the title from Andrew.

Queen Elizabeth II

The Queen cannot remove dukedoms (Image: Getty)

Labour MP Rachael Maskell, who represents York Central, said Andrew should give up his association with the city out of respect.

Earlier this year, she said: “To demonstrate his seriousness in this endeavour, and his respect for those affected by abuse and the people of our city, I would ask that his first act of contrition is to confirm his support for the withdrawal of his ducal title.”

Darryl Smalley, a senior member of City of York Council, also said that Andrew’s dukedom was “inappropriate” as the council seeks to strip him of his Freedom of the City of York.

He said last month: “Having been stripped of his military roles and royal patronages by the Queen, we are seeking to end Prince Andrew’s links with our great city, including removing his honorary freedom.

Line of succession to the throne

Line of succession to the throne (Image: EXPRESS.CO.UK)

“York’s unique connection to the Crown and the monarch is an important part of our city’s legacy and history.

“However, as a council and city, we stand with victims of sexual abuse and are doing all we can to end violence against women and girls locally.”

The council was due to consider the motion on March 24, but due to an outbreak of COVID-19, this was postponed until April 19 to 21.

Despite the Queen’s ability to grant dukedoms, she cannot remove them.

This can only be achieved by passing a statute through Parliament.

So what do YOU think? Should the public decide if royals get to keep their titles? And should Andrew, Harry and Meghan have their titles removed? Vote in our poll and leave your thoughts in the comment section below.



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