Why hasn’t Harry given up his ridiculous title yet? – The Guardian

I don’t think anyone should be going around calling themselves Duke or Duchess in 2023. Unless they are a stripper or a dog
I’m afraid it’s the law now, OK? I’ve valiantly resisted for as long as I could, but the time has come: I simply have to write about Harry and Meghan. It is basically illegal not to have at least one opinion about the royals who apparently hate being royals but are still milking their royal connections for all they’re worth. And don’t roll your eyes, you’re a glutton for this stuff too. Everyone loves to see obscenely privileged people airing their dirty laundry. There is a reason that Harry’s memoir has become the UK’s fastest-selling nonfiction book and that reason is not the quality of the writing.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to pull a Piers Morgan or Jeremy Clarkson here and start seething with unhinged rage about Harry and Meghan. I’m not the Sussexes’ biggest fan but the only royal I can muster up enough energy to get really outraged about is Prince Andrew. You remember him? He hasn’t been in the news very much lately since Harry’s been hogging all the headlines but he’s the guy that got stripped of royal duties over his relationship with the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. He’s the guy that Ghislaine Maxwell recently called her “dear friend”. He’s a nasty piece of work and yet Britain is now so caught up in Harry hatred that a recent YouGov poll has found that Brits over the age of 65 dislike the Sussexes more than disgraced Prince Andrew.
Having said all that, I do have one bit of beef with Harry and Meghan. Namely: why haven’t they given up their ridiculous titles? The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Most people are given cooking pots at their weddings; Harry and Meghan were given hereditary titles. The title of Duke of Sussex actually became extinct in 1843 after its former owner, Prince Augustus Frederick, died, by the way. However, Queen Elizabeth II revived it from the dead and gave it to her grandson when he got married in 2018 because that is the sort of thing queens can do.
Frankly I don’t think anyone should be going around calling themselves duke or duchess in 2023. Unless, of course, they are a stripper or a dog. Duke and Duchess are both good names for a dog.
But hereditary titles – and the aristocracy in general – have no place in the modern world. A few people in America had a similar idea about this nearly 250 years ago. I’m no expert in American history but I’m pretty sure an entire war was fought over insufferable British people parading around with stupid titles. And yet, here we are in 2023, and Americans are happily referring to Harry and Megs as duke and duchess.
I’m not the only person who is a bit miffed that Harry and Meghan seem to want to have their royal cake and eat it too. According to a YouGov survey conducted in December 2022 nearly half of the British public reckon Prince Harry should have his title removed. Anderson Cooper brought up the issue in Harry’s recent interview on CBS’s 60 Minutes. “[C]ritics say the duke and duchess are cashing in on their royal titles while they still can,” Cooper said. “Why not renounce your titles as duke and duchess?”
Harry didn’t have a particularly eloquent answer. “And what difference would that make?” he replied.
It would make a lot of difference, Harry! You can’t complain about an antiquated institution while insisting that people call you duke. Well, I mean, technically you can. Technically that’s exactly what Harry and Meghan are doing. But it makes you look just a little bit like a hypocrite. It makes it seem like the only real problem you have with hereditary privilege is that you didn’t get as much as you’d have liked.
It would also have been a smart move for Harry to renounce his titles before the royal family unceremoniously did it for him. That’s looking more and more likely. A royal source recently told Us Weekly that stripping Harry and Meghan of their titles is a “very real possibility”. Why not get ahead of it, Harry? Drop all the duke palaver and I might start taking you a bit more seriously. Although, after all the details about the frost-bitten “todger” that may be a bit of a reach.
Arwa Mahdawi is a Guardian columnist and the author of Strong Female Lead
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