The royal family recently raised eyebrows by removing Prince Harry’s HRH title from its website nearly three years after he stepped down — but one royal expert thinks it’s not that serious.
“Part of it — without throwing too much shade in the general direction of the royal website — is that it is chaotically curated,” Gareth Russell exclusively told Us Weekly on Thursday, August 10, noting that the site is maintained by staff, not actual royals. “The royals no more update the website than the president of the U.S. would update the presidential website.”
Russell — whose new book, The Palace: From the Tudors to the Windsors, 500 Years of British History at Hampton Court, hits shelves on December 5 — went on to note that the royal website includes “thousands of thousands of pages,” so it can be hard to keep track of which ones need updating.
“There are still some areas where Queen Elizabeth II is referred to in the present tense. So, they really need to get that dealt with,” Russell told Us. “I think it’s simply the fact that they’re catching up bit by bit and trying to update this as they go. I don’t think it’s necessarily a slight to Prince Harry. I don’t think at the moment either the Sussexes or Buckingham Palace seem to be interested in slinging arrows or trading insults.”
Harry’s page on the website was altered earlier this month shortly after U.K. outlet Express reported that the Duke of Sussex, 38, was still referred to as “HRH” in his bio. (The page still includes an embedded tweet that uses the HRH title.)
When Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, announced in January 2020 that they were stepping down as senior royals, Buckingham Palace announced that the couple could not use their HRH titles because they were “no longer working members of the Royal Family.”
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Russell, for his part, also pointed out that the website recently added new details to the pages about Harry and Meghan’s kids: Archie, 4, and Lilibet, 2. The site now refers to the kids as Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet. “So, it wasn’t just removing the HRH,” Russell told Us. “It was also putting Archie and Lilibet’s proper titles on as well.”
Archie and Lilibet did not have titles until Harry’s father, King Charles III, assumed the throne in September 2022 following Elizabeth’s death. Elizabeth’s grandfather King George V decreed in 1917 that royal titles should be given to any children of the monarch’s sons.
The late queen, however, amended the decree in 2012 to include the children of her grandson Prince William. This is why his and Princess Kate’s children — Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5 — all have royal titles. That amendment did not include any children Harry would eventually have because it only applied to the future king’s children. William, 41, is now first in line for the monarchy, while Harry is fifth in line.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi
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