After stepping back as a senior royal last year questions arose about can Prince Harry still be King – especially now he and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, have put down roots in the US and made a home in California for themselves and their son, Archie.
Though Harry and Meghan have confirmed they won’t return as working royals this year, they do still remain members of the British Royal Family.
Part of their agreement with the Queen led to some big royal title changes for the couple. But with this has come confusion from the public as to whether Harry is still a prince and if he is still in the royal line of succession and could still one day become King.
Can Prince Harry still be king and is he still in the royal line of succession?
In a nutshell – yes, Prince Harry can still be king. This is because he was born into (and remains in) the royal line of succession.
As it currently stands, Prince Harry is sixth in line to the throne. The Queen’s first son and Harry’s father – Prince Charles – is the present heir to the British monarchy. He will therefore become King after Queen Elizabeth.
Prince William is then second in line to the throne, as the eldest child of The Prince of Wales. William’s eldest son, Prince George, will become king after his father, with his younger siblings Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis as fourth and fifth in line for the throne respectively.
Prince Harry then follows his nieces and nephews as sixth in line to the throne. This therefore means that the 36-year-old can still be king – but his chances are fairly slim with five royal replacements ahead of him.
It’s also worth noting that if Prince William and Kate decide to have another child this will demote Harry to seventh in line. In the future, if George, Charlotte and Louis have families of their own – Harry’s entitlement to the throne will also drop a further few places.
Though Harry and Meghan retired as senior royals last year, he remains in the line of succession. This is because only an Act of Parliament can remove a royal from the Succession of the Throne Act. So far this has not been considered.
Is Harry still a Prince now he lives in America?
Yes, Harry is still a prince and will remain a prince no matter where he lives in the world.
The 36-year-old is a prince by birth – as the grandson of Queen Elizabeth and son of the throne’s heir, Prince Charles.
Born into royalty, Harry remains a member of the British Royal Family too. This is despite his and Meghan’s decision to step back as senior royals last year.
Though technically still royal, Harry and Meghan agreed that after their departure they would not use their official HRH titles (His/Her Royal Highness). This name change was acknowledged by Buckingham Palace’s statement on the Sussex’s exit in Spring 2020.
“While they can no longer formally represent The Queen, the Sussexes have made clear that everything they do will continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty. The Sussexes will not use their HRH titles as they are no longer working members of the Royal Family,” the statement read.
Whilst Harry and Meghan no longer use their royal titles, they were not officially stripped of them by the Queen. However, Prince Harry did lose three honorary military titles in a review of their exit agreement in February 2021.
A Buckingham Palace statement announced that the Queen has taken back the prince’s military appointments. These include Honorary Air Commandant of RAF Honington and Captain General of the Royal Marines. He also loses his title as Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Navy Small Ships and Diving.
“Following conversations with The Duke, The Queen has written confirming that in stepping away from the work of The Royal Family it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service.
“The honorary military appointments and Royal patronages held by The Duke and Duchess will therefore be returned to Her Majesty, before being redistributed among working members of The Royal Family,” the statement read.
Prince Harry also lost his role as royal patron of The Rugby Football Union and The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust. Similarly, Meghan’s royal patronages like The Royal National Theatre will be re-assigned.
What you should call Prince Harry now instead of HRH
When Harry gave up his HRH title in March 2020, he formally became known as Harry, Duke of Sussex.
Prince Harry was made The Duke of Sussex by the Queen for his wedding to Meghan Markle in 2018. He was also given the Scottish title – the Earl of Dumbarton – and is known as Baron Kilkeel in Northern Ireland.
Meghan Markle also received a title upon her wedding to Prince Harry. As his new wife, Meghan was named the Duchess of Sussex by Her Majesty.
Though they renounced their HRH titles last year, Harry and Meghan kept their Duke and Duchess titles. This is why the couple are still commonly referred to as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex or ‘The Sussexes’.
Their name change is in keeping with how Prince Harry’s mother was referred to after her divorce from Prince Charles. Princess Diana lost her royal title and became Diana, Princess of Wales from 1996 onwards.
Harry and Meghan’s Sussex Royal foundation also had to change its name as a result of UK government rules.
A statement on the Sussex Royal website states: “Given the specific UK government rules surrounding use of the word ‘Royal’, it has been therefore agreed that their non-profit organisation will not utilise the name ‘Sussex Royal’ or any other iteration of ‘Royal’.”
The American-based couple have since setup their new charitable foundation called Archewell. Similar to their son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor’s first name, it compromises the words Arche and Well. Arche is a Greek word meaning “source of action” whilst well suggests a plentiful supply.