Prince Harry dodges question on why he and Meghan Markle haven’t given up their royal titles

Meghan and Harry gave an interview to Oprah Winfrey in March 2021 (AFP via Getty Images)

The Duke of Sussex dodged questions about renouncing his royal title during his recent interview with Anderson Cooper.

Ahead of the release of his forthcoming book Spare, Prince Harry sat down with journalist Anderson Cooper on Sunday (8 January) for an episode of CBS’ 60 Minutes. The 38-year-old royal discussed many of the shocking revelations written in his memoir, which hits shelves this Tuesday.

However, Cooper shared some of the criticisms Harry’s received since he and his wife, Meghan Markle, stepped down from their roles as senior royals in 2020. He pointed out that the Sussexes gave a bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey shortly after relocating to North America, and inked a deal with Netflix worth a reported $100m.

After noting how “critics say the Duke and Duchess are cashing in on their royal titles while they still can,” Cooper asked Prince Harry: “Why not renounce your titles as Duke and Duchess?”

Harry replied: “And what difference would that make?”

“One of the criticisms that you’ve received is that OK, fine, you want to move to California, you want to step back from the institutional role. Why be so public? Why reveal conversations you’ve had with your father or with your brother? You say you tried to do this privately,” the 60 Minutes correspondent said.

“And every single time I’ve tried to do it privately there have been briefings and leakings and planting of stories against me and my wife,” Harry responded. “You know, the family motto is ‘never complain, never explain.’ But it’s just a motto. And it doesn’t really hold.”

Despite stepping back from the royal family in 2020, the couple has continued to use the titles of Duke and Duchess of Sussex, which they received from Queen Elizabeth II on their wedding day in 2018.

Since then, there’s been much public outcry for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to drop their royal titles, as well as speculation over the titles their two children – Archie, three, and Lilibet, one – will inherit.

A recent YouGov survey, which was conducted in December 2022, found that nearly half of the British public believed Prince Harry should have his title removed following his and Meghan Markle’s Netflix docuseries, Harry and Meghan.

Speaking to Oprah Winfrey in March 2021, Meghan revealed that their eldest son Archie did not receive a royal title when he was born in 2019. “They were saying they didn’t want him [Archie] to be a prince or princess, which would be different from protocol, and that he wasn’t going to receive security,” she explained. “This went on for the last few months of our pregnancy where I was going, hold on for a second.”

Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022, Harry and Meghan’s two children inherited the right to be a HRH (His or Her Royal Highness), with Archie a prince and Lilibet a princess. However, Archie and Lilibet’s royal titles have yet to be updated on the royal family’s website. The Sussexes also stopped using their HRH designations when they stepped down from royal duties.

Now, it’s been reported that King Charles will wait for Prince Harry’s memoir to be released before he decides whether the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s children will inherit titles.

Prince Harry has made many claims about both his father, King Charles II, and his brother, the Prince of Wales, in his forthcoming memoir. In an excerpt of the book, which was leaked ahead of its publication date, Harry writes that King Charles asked him and William not to “make my final years a misery” at Prince Philip’s funeral in March 2021.

“Please boys,” Harry quotes Charles as saying after the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral at Windsor Castle, “Don’t make my final years a misery.”

During his ITV interview with Tom Bradby on Sunday evening, Prince Harry discussed his two main criticisms of his father surrounding “intimacy and communication problems”.

“He’d always given an air of not being quite ready for parenthood: the responsibilities, the patience, the time,” Harry said. “Even he, though a proud man, would have admitted as much. But single parenthood? Pa was never made for that. To be fair, he tried.”

Meanwhile, Prince Harry described an altercation he had with Prince William at Nottingham Cottage in 2019, in which the Prince of Wales allegedly grabbed Harry by the collar, ripped his necklace off and “knocked” him to the ground.