The change was made to the ‘Members of the Royal Family’ page, where the Duke of Sussex’s profile is now placed alongside Prince Edward, Duke of Kent. The Duchess of Sussex is now placed below her husband and alongside Prince Andrew, Duke of York.
As reported by The Telegraph, Meghan and Harry were not initially so close to the bottom of the page. Although the couple was always featured below senior royals such as the Prince and Princess of Wales, they were both ahead of other family members, including the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent, Princess Alexandra, who is 56th in the line of succession, and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.
However, as noted by the outlet, the Sussexes are now below the Queen’s cousins, Princess Alexandra, the Duke of Kent, and the Duke of Gloucester, who are working members of the royal family.
The Telegraph also noted that, along with the Sussexes, Prince Andrew was repositioned to the bottom of the page.
The website’s update followed the death of Queen Elizabeth II on 8 September, with the change coming one day after the late monarch’s royal mourning period ended.
According to The Telegraph, 15 months ago, the Sussexes, who announced in 2020 their intention to step back from their roles as senior members of the royal family, were first moved down on the royal family website, when they were placed below the Wessexes and Princess Anne. Prior to that move, they were listed right below the Prince and Princess of Wales.
Harry and Meghan, who moved to the US in 2020 after stepping down from their royal duties, returned to California from the UK last Wednesday, two days after the Queen’s state funeral.
The latest change to the royal family’s website comes amid continued speculation about a potential change in titles for the couple’s two children, Archie, three, and Lilibet, one.
When Charles became King, the Sussexes’ children inherited a right to be HRH, with Archie a prince and Lilibet a princess, as a result of the 1917 Letters Patent. The ruling, which was granted by King George V, allows grandchildren of the monarch to inherit His/Her Royal Highness (HRH) titles.
The royal family’s website is yet to reflect the children’s updated titles, with the King reportedly waiting on the release of Prince Harry’s book, set to come out in 2023, before deciding if Archie and Lilibet will get new titles.
In an excerpt of her new book, The New Royals: Queen Elizabeth’s Legacy and the Future of the Crown, Vanity Fair’s royal correspondent Katie Nicholl claimed that she spoke to a source close to Charles, who said that the King is waiting to see what Harry will write about the royal family in his memoir.
“Would Charles go as far as barring Archie and Lilibet from becoming a prince and a princess now that the Sussexes are no longer working royals?” she wrote. “According to a source close to the King, ‘it depends a lot on what happens in the coming months, particularly with Harry’s book and their TV show.’”
Speaking to The Independent, royal correspondent Victoria Arbiter said that it is ultimately up to Harry and Meghan if they want their children to go by their titles.
“[Archie and Lilibet] automatically become prince and princess, simply because that’s how the rules are laid out,” she said. “It remains to be seen whether Harry and Meghan will want it and the pressure that comes with that. Charles could change the Letters Patent, and, if he does change the Letters Patent, it’s not a slight to Harry and Meghan.”