Getty images
Getty images

Royals Who Have Stepped Away from Their Duties

Pedro Marrero
Jan 15, 2020
04:30 P.M.
Share this pen

For different reasons, from “forbidden” romantic interests to business considerations, royals from different parts of the world have renounced their family privileges in favor of ordinary life.


When King Edward VIII gave up the throne of England to marry American divorcée Wallis Simpson in 1936, the world was shocked by his decision, with some supporters celebrating the triumph of love.

But as time goes by, the phenomenon of royals giving up their titles or stepping back from their duties has become more common, and it doesn’t always happen for the best reasons. These are some examples.



2020 started with a dramatic turning point for the British Royal Family with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, announced on January 8 that they had chosen to “step back” from their royal roles.

“It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment,” read a statement in the couple’s Instagram account, following the increasing harassment of the press to the young royals.


Edward VIII. I Image: Getty Images.

Edward VIII. I Image: Getty Images.


At least in the contemporary Western world, late King Edward VIII, the paternal uncle of Queen Elizabeth II, is probably the most famous case of choosing one’s heart above all other things.

Edward was crowned King of the United Kingdom in January 1936, but he didn’t last a full year as monarch, for he abdicated to the throne in order to be able to marry American divorced woman Wallis Simpson.


Prince Philip. I Image: Getty Images.

Prince Philip. I Image: Getty Images.


While he will be remembered as part of the British Royal Family after his long marriage with 93-year-old Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip had to renounce to both the thrones of Greece and Denmark in order to be his consort.

Philip also had to adopt his mother’s maiden name, Mountbatten, as part of his new identity, and in compensation for all this, he received many new royal titles in his adopted land.



In 2018, then-28-year-old Japan’ Princess Ayako, renounced her royal status to marry fiancé Kei Moriya, a commoner, and businessman, adopting her husband’s name and now going as Ayako Moriya.

A year later, the daughter of late Prince Takamado happily welcomed her first child, a baby boy, in November 2019.


Prince Andrew. I Image: Getty Images.

Prince Andrew. I Image: Getty Images.


59-year-old Prince Andrew, Harry’s paternal uncle, might have actually given the idea of a way out for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, after he too stepped back from his royal duties in November 2019.

But Andrew’s reasons were more turbulent than those of his nephew, since he faced terrible backlash after expressing sympathy for sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, something he regretted later in a public statement.


Zara and Peter Phillips as children. I Image: Getty Images.

Zara and Peter Phillips as children. I Image: Getty Images.


Per Queen Elizabeth II’s eldest daughter Princess Anne’s choice, her children Peter and Zara weren’t given royal titles, as it was Anne’s wish to raise them as private citizens in the real world.

Zara has opened up about her mother’s decision as a grown-up, telling the Times in 2015 that she considered herself lucky to have grown up outside the bubble of royal life.


Princess Diana. I Image: Getty Images.

Princess Diana. I Image: Getty Images.


Divorcing Prince Charles in 1996 meant for the former Princess of Wales, Lady Diana Spencer, the loss of the official designation of “Her Royal Highness,” even though she retained a number of her royal privileges.

It later surfaced that according to the Palace, Diana relinquished the title upon her divorce, and while there were talks about posthumously restoring the treatment to the late mother of Prince Harry and Prince William, the Spencers agreed not to.



What Princess Anne did for her children, Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf did it for his grandchildren early in October 2019, removing the title of Royal Highness from all of them and freeing them from any royal duties.

While the children will keep their titles of Princes and Princesses, these won’t be inheritable, and their descendants will be brought up as commoners.



While the 47-year-old Norwegian royal hasn’t actually renounced to her royal duties, she has decided not to use the title of Princess in her business activities after discussing it with her family.

The move was announced by Martha Louise of Norway in August 2019, after her family didn’t approve the name of her joint speaking tour with her boyfriend Shaman Durek, “The Princess and the Shaman.”

Please fill in your e-mail so we can share with you our top stories!
By subscribing, you agree to our Privacy Policy
Related posts

Prince Philip's Last Words to Prince Charles Hours before He Died Became a Happy Memory of Him

April 11, 2022

Harry Felt Diana Was 'Chased to Death' While Dating Man Who 'Wasn't White' & Feared It Happening to Meghan

April 18, 2022

Meghan Markle ‘No Longer Cares’ if She Is Welcome in UK Though Prince Harry Is ‘Desperate’ to Return, Reports Say

February 24, 2022

Prince William Is Preferred as Future King Over His Father Prince Charles, According to Poll

February 19, 2022

William Promised Give Diana Her Royal Titles Back after She Cried over Losing Them during Her Divorce

March 28, 2022

Prince William & Wife React after Elizabeth II Announces Camilla as Future Queen Consort

February 07, 2022

The Queen's Married Daughter Was 'Not Ashamed' of Affair despite Its Details Being Publicly Revealed

March 12, 2022

Queen Elizabeth’s Kids Were Often Left With Nannies & Lacked Tactile Connection While She Was Away for Months

March 08, 2022

Camilla Reacts to Future 'Queen Consort' Title Days after Queen Sparked Health Concerns

February 14, 2022

Harry & Meghan Will Bring Kids to Queen’s Jubilee despite Queen Banning Them from Palace Balcony Ceremony

May 10, 2022

Harry & Meghan Reportedly Might Use Kids as a ‘Weapon’ for Family Reunion Though She Does Not Want to Return

April 03, 2022

Princess Margaret Reportedly ‘Wouldn’t Let Her Children Talk’ to Diana - She Was Angry About Her ‘Betrayal’

February 13, 2022

Camilla Was Horrified by William Shouting at King Charles & Said the 'Boy's Got a Temper,' Book Claimed

September 19, 2022

Sarah Ferguson Says Princess Diana Would Have Been Proud of Meghan Markle & Kate Middleton

April 25, 2022