Friday, September 25, 2020

Shaking my head ...again


@ Marlene A Eilers Koenig 

People ... a lot of people, apparently, in the United Kingdom, are not happy with the recent "political" comments made by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in the United States.

From the monarchy's official website: "As Head of State, The Queen has to remain strictly neutral with respect to political matters. By convention, The Queen does not vote or stand for election, however, Her Majesty does have important ceremonial and formal roles in relation to the government of the UK."

In other words,  the Queen and members of the Royal Family do not speak out on political matters.  Her Majesty and her family (the ones with the HRH) also do not vote. This is by choice, not by law.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who are now ensconced in a lovely home in Montecito, California, are not discussing British politics.  They spoke about the importance of voting in the November elections.  They didn't tell Americans how to vote but encouraged Americans to use their right at the polls to vote.  

Of course, these comments -- and other comments -- have upset several people.  Piers Morgan, Jeremy Vine,  as well as the usual roundup of blowhards. But why are they upset?   Meghan is American.  She lives in California and she has the right to talk about voting.   Harry is not commentating on British politics.  The Palace issued a statement pointing out, rightly, that the duke and duchess are not working royals. 

 Harry and Meghan remain the whipping boys of the British tabloids because they chose to leave the Royal Family and contribute to society in other ways.  (Before some people come at me for what some might see as a racist comment -- let me share what is stated in the Oxford English Dictionary.)

This post is not to get into all the reasons and theories why the Duke and Duchess decided to give up being senior royals and earn their own way, supporting their own projects.   The couple was offered the opportunity to be able to earn a living and continue to carry out official engagements, as stated in the Luce Guidelines that were established in the summer of 2001 by the then Lord Chamberlain, Lord Luce.  These guidelines were designed for the Earl and Countess of Wessex to allow them the opportunity to have careers and represent the Queen.

The Queen had agreed to allow Edward who ran a television company, Ardent, and Sophie who owned her own PR firm, to continue in these jobs after their wedding.  In January 2002, the couple announced that they were giving up their careers to become full-time working royals.   Sophie had been tricked into giving an interview to a fake sheik, who turned out to be a reporter for the now-defunct News of the World.  Ardent had lost £2 million in the previous nine years, and Sir Michael Peat, the Queen's Keeper of the Privy Purse, examined the company books and advised the prince that Ardent could survive for two more years, but was not financially viable.

The Luce Guidelines were put aside as Edward and Sophie made the decision to give up their commercial work and become full- time working royals.  The Queen did compensate the couple with a one-off payment of £250,000, for lost earnings.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were offered the opportunity to follow the guidelines that would have kept them carrying out engagements and earning a few bob as well.   They chose what some have called the nuclear option by moving first to Canada and now to California, where Meghan was born and raised. They have signed a lucrative Netflix deal and there are probably are money-spinners in the works.

The Prince of Wales is no longer providing funding to Harry privately or through the Duchy of Cornwall.  Since living in California, the Sussexes have picked up the tab for their security and all other expenses.  They have paid back the funds used to renovate Frogmore Cottage and will continue to pay a fair market rental for the house in Windsor Great Park.

But none of this has stopped the blowhards, including Piers Morgan and broadcaster Jeremy Vine, who are calling for their heads.  Not really, but you know what I mean!

A recent poll of 4,174 British adults by Savanta Comres, a research consultancy firm, for Tatler Magazine, showed 68% of those polled want  Harry and Meghan to be stripped of their titles and 63%  believe that Meghan, an American, should not be talking about US politics.  I do not think a poll of under 5000 people represents the entire United Kingdom.  The respondents also show their ignorance in their own history.


A few facts here.   Harry and Meghan are not using the HRH in their careers.  They remain TRH the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and will be styled as such when they are present at an official event -- a Thanksgiving Service, for example.

Clear on the HRH, okay?

Harry is an HRH and a Prince of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland due to the 1917 Letters Patent issued by George V, giving the HRH to the children of the Sovereign, Grandchildren of the Sovereign in the male line, and the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales.   In 2012, the queen issued a new Letters Patent that extended the HRH and title of Prince or Princess to the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales.  This was done because of the then-forthcoming Succession to the Crown Act, which provided for gender equally succession.  Without this new Letters Patent, a firstborn daughter would have been styled as the daughter of a Duke, even though she would remain ahead in the succession of a younger brother, who would have been styled as HRH Prince George,

[I digress for a moment. The 2012 Letters Patent proved to have ramifications for Prince Harry's future children. It would be have been prudent to have the statement "all children of all the sons of the Prince of Wales" to have the HRH and princely if the plan had been to include Harry's children.  I knew then that Prince Harry's children would not be royal.   Archie is entitled to be styled as the Earl of Dumbarton, but his parents decided to not use the courtesy title.]

Meghan is styled as HRH The Duchess of Sussex with the rank of a princess because her husband is HRH The Duke of Sussex with the rank of a Prince.   The Queen bestowed a peerage on her grandson.  

"The Queen has today been pleased to confer a Dukedom on Prince Henry of Wales.  His titles will be Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton, and Baron Kilkeel.

Prince Harry thus becomes His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex, and Ms. Meghan Markle on marriage will become Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex."

The dukedom was "conferred" on Harry, and not Harry and Meghan.   In the United Kingdom, a wife takes her husband's rank and title unless her rank is higher, such as a peeress in her own right or the Sovereign, as in the Queen Regnant.

I am not sure what Piers and Jeremy want? Perhaps a Bill of Attainder against Harry?  

In English law, an attainder was the result of treason or other serious crimes against a person, usually in the nobility that led to a loss of property, title, life (execution), and inheritance of the peerage by the heir.

Edward IV used a Bill of Attainder against having his brother, George, Duke of Clarence killed.  Henry VIII used the attainder against perceived enemies and wives he no longer loved.   Anne Boleyn was stripped of her title before the king ordered her beheading.  Another Act of Attainder was passed against Catherine Howard, Henry's 5th of six wives.    Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, the elderly daughter of the Duke of Clarence, and Thomas Cromwell were also charged with treason and executed due to an Attainder.

The last Bill of Attainder was passed in 1798 against Lord Edward Fitzgerald, a younger son of the 1st Duke of Leinster.    The 1870 Forfeiture Act abolished the forfeiture of property for felony and treason.

Sorry, Piers and Jeremy, Parliament will not be passing a Bill of Attainder against Harry that would take away his title, property as well as his life.  

The Sussexes have moved into virgin territory as British royals who earn a living outside the United Kingdom so it is not a surprise They are not the first British royals to have jobs, but they are the first to have picked up sticks and moved abroad.

[For more information on working royals, please see my article on the BBC history website: ]

Harry cannot renounce his titles.   The peerages (Sussex, Dumbarton, and Kilkeel) were not a surprise as I am very sure the Queen talked about a peerage with Harry before his wedding.  He could have said:  thanks, but no thanks.  He didn't. 

The 1963 Peerage Act allows for renunciation of a peerage within a year of inheritance.  Harry did not inherit a peerage.  His peerage was created for him.

Removing a peerage is not easy.  Parliament can no longer pass Bills of Attainder but it can pass legislation to remove a peerage (for a very good reason) or change the succession to the throne.  In 1936, Parliament passed an Act of Abdication that allowed Edward VIII to abdicate his throne in favor of his brother, Prince Albert, Duke of York.  He reverted to the status of a prince and was briefly styled as HRH Prince Edward.  Several days after the abdication, King George VI announced that he would create his brother Duke of Windsor.

In 1917, Parliament passed the Titles Deprivation Act, an "act to deprive Enemy peers and Princes of British Dignities and Titles." The four enemies were HRH Prince Charles Edward, Duke of Albany, Earl of Clarence and Baron Arklow; HRH Prince Ernst August of Hanover,  Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale, Earl of Armagh; HRH Prince Ernst August of Hanover, Duke of Brunswick) and Heinrich, Viscount Taaffe of Corren and Baron of Ballymote.  The two Ernst Augusts were father and son.

The Duke of Albany was a grandson of Queen Victoria.  He was born posthumously (1884-1954), the second of two children of HRH Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, Queen Victoria's youngest son.   It was not his fault that he ended up as the heir to Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Duchy.   

Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, was the younger son of Ernst I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.  His older brother, Duke Ernst II, died in 1893 without male issue.   This meant that the duchy passed to Albert's male descendants.  The succession was modified so that the British sovereign or his heir would not inherit.  This meant that Albert's second son, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh (1844-1900) was his uncle's heir.  A spanner was thrown into the succession in 1899 when Alfred's only son, Alfred, a depraved soul, unlikely to marry due to venereal disease, died, most likely by suicide.

Victoria and Albert's third son, Prince Arthur, Duke Connaught (1850-1942) was next in line.  He and his only son, Prince Arthur of Connaught(1883-1938) renounced their claims as the Duke was a member of the British military and his son was expected to follow in his footsteps.   The burden fell on the young Prince Charles Edward, Duke of Albany, then only 15 years old.  A year later, in August 1900,  he succeeded as Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.  

Charlie's older sister, Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, wrote in her memoirs: "It was a very great heartbreak for my mother that my brother had to succeed to Coburg. 'I have always tried to bring Charlie up as a good English,' she once said, 'and now I have to turn him into a good German.'"

He may have had conflicted loyalties when world war I broke out, but, as a Sovereign Duke, he chose to support Imperial Germany.  This meant the loss of relations between the Duke and his British and Belgian relatives.  In 1915, his first cousin, George V removed his Order of the Garter.

The title Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale was bestowed by George III on his fifth son, Prince Ernest August (1771-1851), who never expected to end up as King of Hanover.  George III died in 1820 and was succeeded by his eldest son, George IV, whose only child, Princess Charlotte, had died in childbirth in November 1817, thus setting up a marriage and succession race.  George IV reigned until 1830, when he was succeeded by the Duke of Clarence, as William IV, who fathered at least 10 illegitimate children but had no surviving legitimate children by his wife Queen Adelaide. 

When William IV died in June 1837, he was succeeded by his niece, Princess Alexandrina Victoria of Kent (1819-1901).  But William was also king of Hanover, and as Hanover was ruled by Salic law, Victoria could not succeed.  This meant that the next male in line,  the Duke of Cumberland & Teviotdale became King of Hanover.   The new King Ernst August did not lose his British titles or peerage when he succeeded as king.  He and his wife, Frederica, and their only son, Georg (1819-1878)  moved to Hanover. 

Ernst August died in 1851 and was succeeded by his only son, Georg V, who reigned for only 15 years.  In 1866, he and his family fled to their estate in Austria after Prussian troops moved into Hanover and incorporated the kingdom into Prussia.  This was due to Georg's decision to support Austria in its failed war against Prussia.

Georg died in 1878 and was interred in St. George's Chapel.  His only son, Ernst August (1845-1923) chose not to use the title King of Hanover (although he never gave up his claim to the throne) and preferred to be styled as Duke of Cumberland, as he had every right to do so.   He married Princess Thyra of Denmark, who was the youngest sister, of Queen Alexandra, consort of Edward VII.   This meant that King George V and Prince Ernst August, Duke of Brunswick (1887-1953), were first cousins, just as the king and Charlie were first cousins.

In May 1913,  King George V and Queen Mary were guests at Ernst August's wedding to Princess Victoria Luise of Prussia, the only daughter of Kaiser Wilhelm II.  Nicholas II of Russia also attended the wedding. It was the last time  King George saw his two first cousins.  Wilhelm II was the eldest child of Queen Victoria's eldest child, Princess Victoria.  George was the son of Victoria's eldest son, Edward VII.     Nicholas II, George V, and the Duke of Brunswick were first cousins through their mothers, Dagmar (Empress Marie), Queen Alexandra, and Princess Thyra, Duchess of Cumberland.     

In June 1914,  King George V issued a Letters Patent that allowed the Duke and Duchess of Brunswick's children to have the style of HH Prince or Princess of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.    This took place before the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand but was not officially gazetted until July 17, 1914, less than three weeks away from a declaration of war by Britain against Germany.

The Duke of Cumberland and his son, the Duke of Brunswick also supported Germany.  The younger duke rose to the rank of Major General in the Zieten Hussars.  

The 12th Viscount Taafe was an Irish peer and an Austrian National as he too bore arms against the United Kingdom.

The Titles Deprivation Act went into effect by an Order in Council on March 28, 1919. with the king's royal assent. The Dukes of Albany and Cumberland & Teviotdale and Viscount Taafe were stripped of their British peerages.  The Duke of Brunswick lost his right to succeed to the Cumberland and Teviotdale peerages.  

The legislation and order in Council did not remove Charlie nor the two Ernst August's succession rights to the British throne.  Nor did they lose their style and title of Prince of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.  Charlie's HRH and the princely title were provided by Queen Victoria's 1864 Letters Patent that extended the HRH to the grandchildren of sons of the sovereign.   

The former Duke of Cumberland and his family were in a different situation.  They were the only direct male line from George III.  None of Victoria's Letters Patents limited the title of Prince of Princess.  What was limited was the qualification of that style.   Victoria's children were royal highnesses and princes or princesses.  This was further clarified in 1864, with the Letters Patent that extended the HRH to the grandchildren in the male line.  Further generations were styled as HH (His or Her Highness.) The future Edward VIII along with his brother, Bertie, and sister, Mary, were born as Highnesses.  Queen Victoria modified this with a new Letters Patent in 1898 that gave the style of HRH to the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales.

Ernst August and his son were royal highnesses as members of the Hanover royal family, but as British royals, they were Highnesses.  This was made clear with George V's June 1914 Letters Patent for the Duke of Brunswick's children. 

All images: Marlene A. Eilers Koenig collection 

On November 30, 1917, King George V issued another Letters Patent that limited the HRH and title of Prince or Princess to the children of the sovereign, grandchildren in the male line of the Sovereign, and the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales.  Highness was tossed to the dustbin of British royal styles.   The new Letters Patent affected three-year-old HH Prince Alistair of Connaught, the son of Prince and Princess Arthur of Connaught.  He ceased to be a prince and was styled as Earl of Macduff, the courtesy title for his mother's dukedom.   Princess Arthur was Duchess of Fife in her own right.   

Although the Letters Patent does not mention the Ernst Augusts, it can be assumed that they and Charlie's children lost their British princely titles.  In the 1930s, the younger Ernst August, then head of the family, decided otherwise ... but that is another story.

This brings us back to Harry and the mob's call for his titles to be stripped, lose his succession rights, and whatever else Piers has in mind.

Ask yourself this question: It is a test to see if you have read this article.   Why were the Dukes of Albany and Cumberland stripped of their peerages? The answer of course is they fought for Germany during the first world war.  They were the enemy.

Does encouraging people to vote fall into the same category as treason or taking up arms against the United Kingdom?   No, it doesn't.

 No one is calling for the Earl of Wharncliffe to be stripped of his peerage and, I will assume as he lives in Maine and was born in the United States, that he votes in U.S. elections.

[A peer can also lose his peerage if he is convicted of a felony and is sentenced to more than a year in jail, according to the 2014 Lords Reform Act.]


Prince Harry also could choose to go the HRH Princess Patricia of Connaught route.  In February 1919, the younger daughter of the Duke of Connaught married the Hon. Alexander Ramsay, younger son of the Earl of Dalhousie.   There was no talk of George V creating a peerage for his first cousin's husband. A gifted artist,  Patricia, who did not have a public role, asked the king -- her first cousin --if she could relinquish her royal title.  The King agreed.  He issued a Letters Patent that allowed the princess to  "relinquish the style of Princess of Great Britain and Ireland" and be styled as the Lady Patricia Ramsay with  "precedence immediately before the marchionesses of England."   This was her decision as she did not want to have a much higher rank than her husband.  

Lady Patricia was not stripped of her royal title.  She relinquished the use of it in her daily life.  However, at the Coronations in 1937 and 1953, she wore the coronet and robes of a "princess of the blood."   Harry could choose to be styled as the younger son of a duke:  Lord Henry Mountbatten-Windsor.  Meghan's style would be Lady Henry Mountbatten-Windsor.  

I do not see this as a viable option.

I believe there is a more obvious solution that should have been placed on the table during the negotiations in January.   When the credits roll or a name is printed in a program, why not use  Harry Sussex or Meghan Sussex?

 Prince Edward (now the Earl of Wessex) used Edward Windsor when he ran Ardent Productions.    The present Duke of Gloucester, who never expected to succeed to the dukedom as a younger son, was a trained architect.  He was known as Richard Gloucester.   Eugenie York is a director at Hauser & Wirth's London art gallery.   Beatrice uses York as her surname in her position as  Vice President of Partnerships and Strategy at Afiniti.

The late Princess Arthur of Connaught, a trained nurse, never used her title when she was working in a hospital.  She was called Nurse Marjorie.

Using a title (as well as the HRH) in business has proven to be problematic at times for Prince Michael of Kent, a first cousin of Queen Elizabeth.  

The present Earl of Harewood, when as the heir apparent, produced television programs, was credited as David Lascelles, and not Viscount Lascelles.  Lord Harewood's father was a first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II.  His mother was HRH Princess Mary, the Princess Royal.

I think it makes more sense for Harry and Meghan to use Sussex alone as it removes all questions of alleged impropriety and ends comments that they are profiting from their royal status.   Or embarrassing the queen ... or whatever the mob comes up with something else.

I could use a coffee after writing this article  .. just click on the link to buy me one as a thank you!!


Golden said...

Or a stiff Gin!

David Lewis said...

Really good article and well argued.

Andrew said...

I think most British people wish Harry and Meghan well, which is why they were so excited to welcome Meghan into the Royal Family, and turned out in such numbers to see the Royal Wedding. Some, myself included, are unhappy about hypocrisy. It didn't go down well that Harry lectured ordinary people about climate change whilst using private jets. Of course the Prince of Wales also speaks about climate change whilst not using public transport. People do notice these things. But in the case of Harry and Meghan, talking about 'unconscious bias' given its associations with notions of critical race theory, are unwelcome. People don't like to be talked down to by celebrities or royalty. Their encouragement of Americans in voting is laudable, but maybe the echoing of sentiments about this election being for some reason more important than others unfortunately appears to ally them to remarks associated with Mrs Obama.
My main concern is for the Queen. I believe the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were disrespectful in rejecting her advice and the request to consider things slowly. The only reason any members of the Royal Family have any relevance is in their support for the Queen. Her Majesty has given complete, selfless service to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, and we are eternally grateful to her for it. She has been an example to me all of my life. All members of the Royal Family have the Queen to thank for their position. It was not her choice to take on the role, she accepted it as her duty the day her father the King died.

Blurring of royal position with celebrity status is bound to damage the monarchy. Harry and Meghan are not the only people in the royal family to think about themselves whilst insisting on their titles. The Duke of Windsor was very unhelpful to Britain and the King.

It was said that Harry and Meghan wanted to get out of the limelight. I'm not sure they have succeeded in their goal. Of course titles stay with royalty and aristocracy. Nobody is asking for Acts of Parliament to banish anyone. But Princess Patricia, 'Princess Louise' and her brother all show that it's possible to step away from attention by using other forms, even if they officially remain princes or princesses. It is in Harry's gift to describe himself however he chooses. However, as we know, combining a commercial career with royal status is a problem, as Princess Martha Louise of Norway has demonstrated. If all royal family members put the interests of their Queen and country first, as the Prince of Wales, Princess Royal,Dukes of Kent and Gloucester, and Princess Alexandra have always done, then the Queen can perform her duties without added strain, and the British people will be behind the Royal Family in expressing our deep respect and affection to our beloved monarch.

Unknown said...

You wrote: "When the credits roll or a name is printed in a program, why not use Harry Sussex or Meghan Sussex?". And that's the key. Shall they start doing it no one will care for them anymore, they'll be forgotten. They use the titles to have titles on the news because the would be broke in a week. It's just greed. Sadly as it can be, it's just greed.

Wendy Hunter said...

Phew! Well said, Marlene. As a Canadian, I am watching and scratching my head!

BlueSaphire70 said...

I think that there is one very important thing a lot of critics have of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, including myself. It's the fact that there is a disconnect between what they say and what they do. They claimed to want a quiet, private life, and yet they're in the news constantly and not just because of paparazzi. If they really wanted a private, quiet life, why do they record and publicize a video on any subject, let alone voting? That is a subject that would bring controversy and I think they knew it. Maybe they were counting on it when they did it, I don't know, but I just think that that is not the sort of thing you do if you want to be a private citizen, leading a quiet, private life. I have no issue with their titles, such as they may be. Prince Harry was born a prince of the blood and will be forever. They're the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and it's ridiculous to expect the title to be removed. But, they need to understand that if they continue to be in the public eye, they will continue to be criticized. It's the nature of being in the public eye. Some people are "darlings" of the press, and others, to paraphrase what Ms. Eilers says in her article, are "whipping children". The Duke and Duchess fall in the latter category. Could it be because they tend to preach to people? I'm not sure, but talking down to people is never good, no matter where it comes from. I think if they would really just tend to their own business and refrain from public pronouncements, they would be left alone. But somehow, I don't think that will happen.

Michael Rhodes said...

Another first class article, Marlene.

Fashion&Fragrance_Fan said...

They never claimed they wanted a quiet life. They were tired of the tabloid lies and the tabloid always holding them to ransom for using the sovereign grant. Also keep in mind that piss Morgan is bent on humiliating H and M because Harry is intent on pursuing Morgan in court for his role in hacking Harry's phone.

Fashion&Fragrance_Fan said...

They do not talk down to people. They give their take on issues. You can take it or leave it. They are not forcing anyone to listen to them. Ignore them if you wish to do so.

Frank Staggs said...

Thank you for an exhaustive (but not exhausting) explanation of the "state of Sussex." I appreciate that you had to go "into the weeds" (a "legal term of art" my late boss used to say in reading every draft of a legal brief I would write LOL) to analyze what the Murdoch papers are clamoring for and what the legal and precedential issues are. Your are indeed a thorough historian!

(The only minor editorial suggestion I might offer is explaining that there were at one time 2 "Earnst Augusts of Hannover": father and son, the former Duke of Cumberland and the latter, Duke of Brunswick. I [very] vaguely knew that when you first ID'd them, but it nonetheless spun about in my head until you later ID'd them again near the close of the essay, when you cleared it up for me.)

MAXny said...

They are damned if they do damned if they don't.

Saima said...

This part is not true :"The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were offered the opportunity to follow the guidelines that would have kept them carrying out engagements and earning a few bob as well. They chose what some have called the nuclear option by moving first to Canada and now to California, where Meghan was born and raised..."
That's what they suggested, but it was turned down.

Andrew said...

I will do.

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

Saima, it is true. Not only was it reported in the press at the time, but I also had it confirmed from someone who actually involved in the negotiations.

Unanimous said...

What is disappointing w Harry and Meghan- they were short sighted! Yes, there was racism n people inside the palace who were against them - to deny that is ridiculous. However, they could have been the change -just b being there everyday -sitting at the table metaphorically and realistically. I do think the palace n Harry did not prepare Meghan ahead of time or guide her. Furthermore, Meghan did not want to bend or accept the system, There is enough blame on both sides but no one wants to accept it..

paintbrush said...

Great information as a rebuttal to that great windbag Piers. Meghan seems to take the most blame for everything. Even our darling president had to knock Meghan and offered sympathies to Harry recently. It still takes two to tango as they say. Inherent racism or sexism?