Prince Harry Retains His Position in Line of Succession to the British Throne

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced in January that they would be stepping down as senior members of the Royal Family, a decision that surprised many, and got some others thinking that Prince Harry could lose his place in the line of succession. 

Harry and Meghan's decision to quit Buckingham Palace would see them shuffle between the UK and North America. The Sussex Royals also said they wanted to live financially independent from the British Monarchy. 

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex leave Canada House Jan 21, 2020 | Photo: Getty Images

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex leave Canada House Jan 21, 2020 | Photo: Getty Images

Many people have been wondering about Prince Harry's place in the succession line to the British throne, with some suggesting that he could lose his place with his decision to quit. 

However, Marlene Koenig, a historian, and author spoke to Royal Central and explained that Harry and Meghan stepping down from their roles wouldn't lead to a change in succession. 

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“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages. This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity. We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.” - The Duke and Duchess of Sussex For more information, please visit sussexroyal.com (link in bio) Image © PA

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She further said that succession to the throne was based on legislation and that it would take an act of parliament to have a person from the line of succession. Citing historical instances, Marlene said:

"Edward VIII could not abdicate without an act of Parliament."

She also cited how the first Duke of Sussex, Prince Augustus and the then Duke of Cambridge, Prince George married women in a way that contradicted the Royal Marriages Act, and how they didn't lose their rights. 

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More images from Heritage Day in Bo Kaap. As part of their visit, Their Royal Highnesses visited the Auwal Mosque – the first and oldest Mosque in South Africa. Standing as a symbol of the freedom of former slaves to worship, the Mosque hosts events with Muslim, Christian and Jewish young leaders, and encourages friendship and understanding between South Africa's varied communities. The Duke and Duchess also got to view the first known manuscript of the Qu’ran in Africa, drafted by Tuan Guru from memory, whilst he was imprisoned on Robben Island. ••• Heritage Day celebrated the great diversity of cultures, beliefs and traditions that make up the rainbow nation. Bo Kaap streets filled with colour and music while Their Royal Highnesses were welcomed to one of the most vibrant neighbourhoods in Cape Town. The area has seen inter-community tension rise over the last few years, yet days like today show how faith, traditions, food and music bring people together, and celebrate the things that unite each and every one of us. #RoyalVisitSouthAfrica • Photo ©️ Shutterstock / PA images

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However, their wives and children couldn't inherit their rank, while their children also didn't have dynastic rights to the thrones, and their sons also couldn't inherit the peerage. 

Harry and Meghan would no longer have an office in Buckingham Palace but would have representatives in the UK.

There are also questions about Harry and Meghan losing their HRH status if they end up stepping down on their roles. Regarding that, Koenig said that the Duke of Sussex could renounce his peerage. 

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Today, we are excited to be able to announce details for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s upcoming tour to Africa! 🇿🇦🇧🇼🇦🇴🇲🇼 • In just two weeks, Their Royal Highnesses will embark on this official tour focusing on community, grassroots leadership, women’s and girls’ rights, mental health, HIV/AIDS and the environment. This programme has been many months in the making, and The Duke and Duchess are eager to focus their energies on the great work being done in Southern Africa. From meeting with Archbishop Desmond Tutu to joining ‘Waves for Change’ on Monwabisi Beach, the South Africa programme will be educational and inspiring. The Duke is especially proud to continue the legacy left by his mother with her work in Angola as he joins Halo Trust again in an effort to rid the world of landmines. HRH will also travel to Malawi where he will check in on the British Army’s partnership with African Parks and will be working on the ground supporting local communities. The Duke is particularly proud to be able to deliver an exciting new initiative, a Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy three-country partnership which he designed and consulted with Governments in Namibia, Botswana and Angola to protect forest and wildlife corridors around the Okavango Delta. The Duchess will be working with local organisations to promote women and girls’ health and education, entrepreneurship and leadership. With such a textured culture and history, Their Royal Highnesses are grateful for the opportunity to connect with those on the ground in Southern Africa and to be inspired by the work being done and learn how they can be better supported. As President and Vice President of The Queens Commonwealth Trust and The Duke’s role as Commonwealth Youth Ambassador, The Duke and Duchess cannot wait to meet with young leaders mobilising change and adding to the beauty of these Commonwealth countries 🇿🇦🇧🇼🇦🇴🇲🇼 • “We look forward to seeing you soon!” • Photo ©️ PA images / Tim Graham - Getty Images / @Sentebale /@AfricanParksNetwork / @YouthAlert

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On rescinding his HRH title, the historian said that for that to be effective, Queen Elizabeth would have to issue a Letters Patent. 

Harry and Meghan's step down as senior members of the British Royal Family will take effect from April 1. In a statement the couple issued on their website, they detailed the things that would change once they step down. 

From the statement, it became clear that Harry and Meghan would stop using the word "Royal" as part of their branding. That change would see the removal of "royal" from their charitable entity, social media accounts, and website.

The couple also revealed that for 12 months, the plans for their new role would be under review. However, even after stepping down, some things would remain the same for the couple. 

As stated earlier, Harry would remain sixth in line to succeed the British Monarchy. They would also maintain their titles as "Duke and Duchess of Sussex," although they would lose their "HRH" titles.

The couple would also keep their Scottish and Northern Ireland titles, as well as retaining some level of security in their new chapter as an independent couple.

 Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the WellChild awards at Royal Lancaster Hotel on October 15, 2019 in London, England | Photo: Getty Images

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the WellChild awards at Royal Lancaster Hotel on October 15, 2019 in London, England | Photo: Getty Images

Harry and Meghan would no longer have an office in Buckingham Palace but would have representatives in the UK. They would also be allowed to continue the charities that had their patronages while they were official working members of the Royal Family. 

These new developments would take some getting used to for some of the people involved, but there continues to be support for Harry and Meghan from the Royal Family as they prepare to begin a new chapter of lif

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