Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been allowed to retain their HRH titles but agreed not to use them, Buckingham Palace confirmed to a furious backlash.
The couple will be known as Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex in their new independent lives away from royal duties.
Last night’s statement from the Queen said they will ‘not use their HRH titles’, which appeared to suggest sacrificing the three-letter prefix was the price of their newfound freedom.
But the Palace and Sussex households have now been accused of purposefully fudging the statement after it transpired Harry and Meghan have not been stripped of the title, but have just agreed not to deploy it.
The deal, which was hammered out at Sandringham yesterday, also gives the couple licence to broker lucrative commercial deals, prompting concern they could row back on their pledge not to use the titles if doing so could bolster their brand and net them millions.
Commentator Carole Malone angrily tweeted: ‘So Harry and Meghan haven’t actually been stripped of their HRH title.
‘They will keep HRH in name but will not use it. So how is that going to be monitored as they jet around the world making millions?’
Minutes after the Queen’s announcement, a communiqué on the Sussexes website referred to the couple as ‘Their Royal Highness’, immediately sparking confusion.
But it is understood they will abandon using the title this spring when Harry and Meghan officially cut ties with the Family.
While last night’s statement fleshed out the basic blueprint of the Sussex’s future, some areas remained vague:
1. Will Harry and Meghan continue receiving money from the Duchy of Cornwall?
The couple are bankrolled around £2million a year from Prince Charles’ private estate, which is expected to continue.
But this is a drop in the ocean to the millions they are estimated to be worth now they are free to strike commercial deals.
They have made clear their desire to become ‘financially independent’ and will pay back the £2.4million of Sovereign Grant money used to refurbish Frogmore Cottage.
2. Who will pay for the couple’s protection?
Buckingham Palace said it does not comment on security matters. It is not clear who will foot their protection bill which is estimated to spiral up to £7million.
However the most touted suggestion is that British and Canadian taxpayers will split the financial burden.
3. Why have the couple been allowed to keep their HRH titles?
Palace sources clarified that the couple are not going to use their HRH titles because they will not be full-time working royals acting on behalf of the Queen.
However, they are still technically members of the Royal Family, in the same way Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice have the HRH title, but do not perform duties.
When Sarah Ferguson and Princess Diana divorced Andrew and Charles, respectively, they were stripped of their HRH titles because they had separated from their royal husbands.
How much control will the Queen have over Harry and Meghan’s commercial deals?
Insiders told MailOnline yesterday’s finalised agreement will be up for scrutiny in an annual review next year. If the Queen feels the couple have taken commercialised the royal brand to line their pockets, she could move to row back on the deal.