Bid to strip Meghan Markle and Prince Harry of their royal titles fails

A campaign to try and strip Prince Harry and Meghan Markle of their titles as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex has failed.

Angry residents in Sussex signed a petition to have their royal names changed and it was backed by 3,800 people.

The titles were given to the couple by The Queen after they got married in Windsor, Berks in May last year.

The petition was led by anti-monarchist campaigner Charles Ross who said the decision to give them the titles was "morally wrong" and "disrespectful."

He also said it was "entirely non-democratic" and a "'symbol of oppression by the wealthy elite."

However, last night Brighton and Hove City councillors – who had to discuss the motion at a council meeting – rejected it.

The petition – set up in September – read: "We the undersigned petition Brighton & 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.

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"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."

Speaking at a full council meeting last night, council leader Nancy Platts said: "I am aware that there are passionately held views on either side of the argument about the monarchy which are legitimate.

"However, that is not a matter for local authorities and we obviously do not have the power to remove titles. That is a matter for the Crown.

"The council has a number of pressing issues it has to prioritise, such as homelessness, climate change, the effects of austerity, ensuring the economic and social wellbeing of the city's residents.

"Although I fully respect the views held by people on both sides of the argument, given the more pressing challenges we have, I do not believe this would be a proper use of council time and resources to progress the proposals in the petition.

"I would therefore ask the council to note the petition and thank Mr Ross for presenting it."

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Despite the concerns the royal couple – who live in Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, were well received by huge crowds of well-wishers on a visit to Sussex in October last year.

At the time Peter Kyle, MP for Hove, praised them for reflecting Brighton's diversity and calling them "a great example".

Harry's was made the first Duke of Sussex in 175 years and only the second in history.

At the same time, Meghan became the first ever Duchess of Sussex.

Harry also received Scottish and Northern Irish titles, becoming the Earl of Dumbarton and Baron Kilkeel, making Meghan the Countess of Dumbarton and Baroness Kilkeel.

All royal titles are given by The Queen and the final decision was down to her which was up to the monarch to choose which one to bestow on her grandson and his wife.

Harry's thoughts on the title would have been taken into account by Her Majesty in a private discussion between the Prince and his grandmother.

Tradition dictates that royal men receive a title on their wedding day.

Prince Augustus Frederick was the first Duke of Sussex.

He married twice, but both took place without the consent of the monarch, so neither of his wives could assume the title of the Duchess of Sussex.

Speaking after the decision, Graham Smith, chief executive of anti monarchist group Republic, said: "I understand the council's reasons but I also understand the reasons why the petition was launched.

"The royals maybe need to stop dishing out silly titles named after areas where is a bodied opinion that strongly objects to it.

"What possible connection do the Sussexes have with Sussex?"

But Thomas Mace-Archer-Mills, founder of the British Monarchists Society, defended the use of the titles.

He said: "We are utterly dismayed that said petition has been signed by so many.

"This certainly highlights that Brighton and Hove is a hotbed of Republican dissidents and is now proven to be so.

"Such a petition shows utter disdain and contempt for The Crown, not to mention copious amounts of disrespect to, and for, the Royal family ."

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