Conservative MP proposes bill to strip Prince Harry and Meghan of royal titles

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By Andrea Carlo
Prince Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, in New York City to accept the Robert F. Kennedy Ripple of Hope Award. Tuesday, 6 December 2022.
Prince Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, in New York City to accept the Robert F. Kennedy Ripple of Hope Award. Tuesday, 6 December 2022.   -   Copyright  Ted Shaffrey/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved.

A UK Conservative Party politician has said he is planning to introduce legislation that could potentially strip Prince Harry and Megan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, of their royal titles.

Bob Seely, an MP for the Isle of Wight, told the PA news agency he considered tabling a bill early next year to amend the 1917 Titles Deprivation Act.

If passed by parliament, the resolution would grant the Privy Council the right to demote the royal couple’s status.

The Tory MP's statements come after the release of a new Netflix documentary, Harry & Meghan, in which the Sussexes chronicle their relationship from the moment when Markle -- an American national of mixed racial heritage and a former actress on the popular TV series, Suits – started dating the prince in London six years ago.

A variety of controversial claims were made throughout series, including a comment from one of the documentary’s interviewees who branded the Commonwealth "Empire 2.0."

"This is a political issue," Seely said in response. "As well as trashing his family and monetising his misery for public consumption, he is also attacking some important institutions in this country."

While the Isle of Wight MP hopes to bring forward the proposed plans in 2023, a bill was already presented by Labour MP Rachael Maskell this summer, which would give the monarch and a joint parliamentary committee the power to remove titles.

The release of Harry & Meghan comes at a pivotal time for the British monarchy, as King Charles III begins his reign following the death of the widely esteemed Queen Elizabeth II in September.

The Netflix series has received a generally hostile response from the British press, with conservative paper The Daily Telegraph lambasting it as a "direct hit" on the late queen's legacy, and a reviewer for left-leaning broadsheet The Guardian calling it "sickening."

Beyond Seely, there have been many negative reactions from other politicians and public figures, with the country’s employment minister, Guy Opperman, urging people to "boycott" the documentary.

Ever since Prince Harry and Meghan tied the knot in 2018, the couple have been on the receiving end of a growing barrage of press scrutiny, which certain commentators -- including the Duke and Duchess themselves -- have characterised as "racist".

Critics of the Sussexes, on the other hand, have defended their remarks by accusing the royal couple of attention-seeking antics, while alleging that Meghan had mistreated her staff.

In 2020, Prince Harry and Meghan stepped down as senior royals and relocated to the latter’s native California. Since then, the duo have made various media appearances, most prominently a two-hour interview with American TV magnate Oprah Winfrey last year, in which they alleged that there were "concerns" within the royal family about their son’s skin colour.

Public support for the Sussexes in Britain has waned significantly since their wedding, although they have retained a stronger degree of popularity among younger generations.

Additional sources • PA