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Reports: Prince Harry, Meghan Markle may be ordered to give up 'Sussex' brand

Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle walk away after announcing their engagement in 2017 in the Sunken Garden in London's Kensington Palace. File Photo by Neil Hall/EPA-EFE
Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle walk away after announcing their engagement in 2017 in the Sunken Garden in London's Kensington Palace. File Photo by Neil Hall/EPA-EFE

Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Since they are no longer formally under royal purview, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle might have to give up their Sussex titles if an official review so concludes, according to news reports.

CNN, the Telegraph and Sky News report that Buckingham Palace has been reviewing whether the pair must surrender their Sussex brand since they decided last month to step away from their royal duties and live in North America. The Daily Mail reported Tuesday that Queen Elizabeth II has decided the couple can no longer refer to themselves as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

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Such a ban would mean the couple must remove Sussex branding from all public displays, including social media accounts and websites. The queen decided last month they must give up their titles as His and Her Royal Highness.

The couple decided to move away from their royal duties and live a more independent lifestyle, including becoming responsible for their own finances. The subject is highly significant, experts say, because the Sussex brand is estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

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The couple has 11.2 million followers on its Sussex Royal Instagram page. Their website also uses the branding.

The Telegraph cited a royal source as saying, "As the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are stepping back as senior members of the royal family and will work towards financial independence, use of the word 'royal,' in this context, needed to be reviewed.

"Planning has been well underway around the launch of their new nonprofit organization. Details will be shared in due course."

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Thomas Woodcock, a queen's aide, said publicly this month the couple should no longer use the term "royal" in any fashion.

"I don't think it's satisfactory," he said. "One cannot be two things at once. You either are [royal] or you're not."

The couple and their son Archie live in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, where Markle had filmed the television series Suits.

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