Palace aides have called on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to give up their titles following Prince Harry’s latest ‘disgraceful’ assault on the Royal Family.
In a withering condemnation of the couple’s continued attacks on the Royals, senior courtiers told The Mail on Sunday of a growing sense of ‘bewilderment and betrayal’.
They are particularly incensed over Harry’s ‘shocking’ criticism of Prince Charles’s parenting skills and, by implication, those of the Queen and the late Prince Philip.
‘People are appalled that he could do this to the Queen when the Duke of Edinburgh is barely in his grave,’ said one aide. ‘To drag his grandfather into this is so shocking and disrespectful.
The Duke of Sussex waves to the crowds as he appears on stage at the Global Citizen VAX LIVE concert this month
Meghan Markle spoke to viewers of the Vax Live concert during her first TV appearance since the Oprah Winfrey interview
‘The Duke of Sussex has now spent a significant amount of time emphasising that he’s no different to anyone else and attacking the institution which he says has caused him so much pain. There is a growing feeling that if you dislike the institution that much, you shouldn’t have the titles.’
Laying bare the toxicity that now exists between the Sussexes and the wider Royal Family, another source said: ‘They should put the titles into abeyance, so they still exist, but are not used, like they agreed to do with their HRHs.
‘They should just become Harry and Meghan. And if they refuse to do that, they have to explain why not.’
While it is understood that no formal moves are planned to strip the couple of their titles, the pressure for them to be relinquished demonstrates how deep the sense of betrayal has become in the Palace.
His latest outburst means tensions are expected to be high when Harry returns to Britain for the unveiling of a new statue of his mother, Princess Diana, on July 1.
Harry has left senior Royals baffled by his ‘woeful lack of compassion’ in the expletive-filled 90-minute interview last week with actor and podcaster Dax Shepard.
In particular, there is fury that he spoke out just a month after his grandfather’s funeral.
Palace aides have called on Duke and Duchess of Sussex to give up their titles
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex wave to the crowds after their wedding at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry, Prince Charles and Prince William attending a requiem mass for Hugh van Cutsem at Brentwood Cathedral in 2013
The 36-year-old says he and Meghan, who are expecting their second child, moved to the millionaires’ enclave of Montecito in California to break the cycle of ‘genetic pain’.
‘He’s treated me the way that he was treated,’ he said of his father. ‘There’s a lot of genetic pain and suffering that gets passed on anyway. Isn’t life about breaking the cycle? There’s no blame.
‘But certainly when it comes to parenting, if I have experienced some kind of pain or suffering because of the pain or suffering that, perhaps, my father or my parents had suffered, I’m going to make sure I break that cycle so I don’t pass it on.’
Referring to his father’s ‘unhappy’ time at Gordonstoun school in Scotland – which Charles described as ‘Colditz in kilts’ – Harry added: ‘Suddenly I started to piece it all together and go, OK, so this is where he went to school.
‘This is what happened. I know this bit about his life. I also know that’s connected to his parents. So that means that he’s treated me the way that he was treated, which means how can I change that for my own kids?’
He compared life in The Firm to ‘a mixture between The Truman Show and being in a zoo’ – a reference to the 1998 Jim Carrey film about a man who is oblivious to the fact that his entire life is a TV show.
‘I’ve seen behind the curtain,’ he added. ‘I’ve seen the business model. I know how this operation runs… I don’t want to be part of this.’
The Queen, Prince Philip and Prince Charles attending the wedding of Princess Eugenie at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor in 2018
Prince Harry speaks at the Global Citizen: VAX Live concert on May 8, 2021
Prince Charles walks behind the Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin during his funeral last month
The cherish titles given to Harry by the Queen on his wedding day
Harry may be under pressure to relinquish his dukedom – but there is no suggestion the Queen would strip him of it.
She conferred on him the titles of Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton and Baron Kilkeel on his wedding day in 2018.
Were he to give those up, he would revert to HRH Prince Henry of Wales and Meghan would become HRH Princess Henry of Wales. As sixth in line to the throne, the title of Prince is his birthright, although he could choose not to use it.
When the couple decided they would no longer represent the Queen in an official capacity, they were allowed to retain their Royal titles and HRH styles, although they agreed not to use the latter.
Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana, agreed to give up her HRH title when she and Prince Charles divorced, but when Harry and Meghan stepped back as working Royals, Palace officials reportedly felt the loss of HRH would appear too ‘punitive’.
Similar concerns led Palace sources to suggest that the Queen is unlikely to remove the dukedom, particularly as it was a wedding gift.
The last occasion when a senior member of the Royal Family had titles removed was after the abdication crisis of 1936 when Edward VIII was given the title of HRH the Duke of Windsor.
Rules around the HRH style were set in Letters Patent issued by George V in 1917.
In them, he stipulated that the son of the son of a Monarch is HRH and so, by convention, is his spouse. Monarchs are, however, free to change the rules.
The Queen issued fresh Letters Patent in 1996 to remove HRH from those who had acquired it on marrying into the family and who then got divorced, namely the Princess of Wales and the Duchess of York.
It was not done out of spite – Diana had already volunteered to lose her HRH style – but of the principle that Royal status acquired on marriage would disappear if that union was dissolved.
His comments have torpedoed hopes that his reunion with Charles and Prince William at the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral last month could bring a reconciliation after the Oprah Winfrey interview in which he and Meghan accused the Royal Family of institutional racism and refusing to help the Duchess when she was suicidal.
Harry also used the interview with the US chat show host in March to describe how he felt ‘really let down’ by his father who, he claimed, had refused to take his calls after Megxit.
But a close friend of Charles last night said: ‘If you follow Harry’s logic and treat the Royals just as ordinary people, then the Prince is a single parent who’s been doing his best for years.
Can you imagine how it feels to have that effort judged so harshly, so publicly?
‘Harry talks about compassion. But where is the compassion for his father? Where is your compassion for your own family who have just buried a much-loved member?
And where is your compassion for your grandmother who has just lost the man she’s loved all her life?’
Harry and Meghan agreed not to use their HRH titles when they stepped back as working members of the Royal Family, but have used Duke and Duchess on the money-spinning projects they have launched since moving to the US, including multi-million-pound deals with Netflix and Spotify.
‘Their titles are obviously their biggest selling point here,’ said one Hollywood producer.
‘Without them they are just A-list celebrities like George Clooney. Their attractiveness is based on the allure of those titles.’
Royal aides have expressed concern that the couple have lost touch with reality by continually focusing on themselves when millions of people have lost jobs and loved-ones during the pandemic.
During last week’s Armchair Expert podcast, Harry said he did not view his comments as ‘complaining’ but instead sharing a vulnerability that would have a ‘positive impact’ on others struggling with mental illness.
But another Royal source said: ‘When people have lost jobs and loved ones, it’s really not the time to be preaching from your £11 million home about how the rest of us should live.’
Royal aides have previously spoken of a ‘genuine desire’ to build bridges with the Sussexes, but noted that ‘it’s impossible to rebuild something while someone keeps chopping it down’.
Harry had appeared on the podcast to promote The Me You Can’t See, a mental health series he has produced with Ms Winfrey, and which launches on Apple TV+ on Friday.
During the interview, he said he felt a deeper connection ‘to the emotionally free and systemic free people’ he worked with in Africa and within the Commonwealth than those he met within the confines of the Palace.
Last night, a Royal aide said: ‘If that is what he truly believes then why not give up the titles?’
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are facing a storm over a deal with US firm Procter & Gamble that sells ‘racist’ skin whitening cream
By Mark Hookham and Mary Ellen Synon for the Mail on Sunday
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex face questions over their partnership with an American cosmetics firm that makes tens of millions of pounds a year selling ‘racist’ skin-whitening creams.
Meghan and Harry last week announced their Archewell Foundation had signed a ‘global partnership’ with US multi-national Procter & Gamble (P&G) to ‘build more compassionate communities’.
But the deal has thrown a spotlight on P&G’s hugely controversial sale in Asia and Africa of skin-lightening creams, which reduce the concentration or production of melanin – the natural pigment that gives human skin its colour.
Campaigners have demanded that P&G and other major firms stop selling such creams.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex face questions over their partnership with an American cosmetics firm
They say the products fuel a ‘toxic belief’ that ‘a person’s worth is measured by the colour of their skin’ and that light skin is better than dark.
An investigation by The Mail on Sunday has found that Olay – a major P&G skincare brand – sells White Radiance moisturiser in India, Malaysia and Singapore.
In India, the product is said to lighten skin tone and deliver ‘radiant and brighter skin’.
In the Philippines, P&G sells Olay White Radiance Light Perfecting Essence, which ‘inhibits melanin formation in the deepest layer of skin’. In Lagos, Nigeria, an MoS reporter last week bought Olay Natural White cream, which promises ‘pinkish fairness’.
Alex Malouf, a former P&G executive, said Meghan and Harry will come under pressure to say whether they support the sale of such products.
‘Meghan has talked a lot about the issue of race and racism, so this does stick out like a sore thumb,’ Mr Malouf said.
It comes as:
- Harry and Meghan faced calls to scrap their deal with P&G because one of its biggest suppliers of palm oil – FGV Holdings – has been accused of exploiting and abusing workers in Malaysia;
- P&G was also lambasted for its role in the destruction of large swathes of virgin forest in Canada to make loo roll. It is claimed the company buys an estimated 490,000 tons of wood pulp a year from Canada’s boreal forest;
- A study by a major US environmental organisation found that suppliers of wood pulp from the forest were cutting down the habitat of the woodland caribou, an ‘at-risk’ species of reindeer.
Prince Harry has been outspoken on environmental and wildlife issues. Worth an estimated £6 billion a year, the skin-lightening industry is booming thanks to growing demand in Asia and Africa.
But cosmetic firms have faced mounting pressure amid the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement and claims that the use of such products is deeply rooted in colonial history.
Last year, following an investigation by the website Buzzfeed, Johnson & Johnson said it was dropping its Fine Fairness line, which was available in Asia and the Middle East.
The L’Oreal Group announced plans to remove ‘white/whitening’, ‘fair/fairness’ and ‘light/lightening’ from the names of its products, while Unilever announced plans to rename Fair & Lovely – a popular brand in India.
An investigation by The Mail on Sunday has found that Olay – a major P&G skincare brand – sells White Radiance moisturiser in India, Malaysia and Singapore. Pictured: Two of the whitening products sold by Procter and Gamble
But P&G has continued to sell the popular White Radiance and Natural White products via its Olay brand. Olay has defended such products by comparing them to tanners or make-up.
One woman who runs a beauty shop in Lagos, sold the reporter two jars of Olay Natural White on Friday afternoon. The packaging said the product had been made in Thailand and it promised ‘an extraordinary pinkish fairness’.
‘This cream protects you against the sun, lightens your skin,’ she said. ‘It will reduce spots and give you a lovely skin tone.’ In India, P&G sells Olay Natural White 7 in one glowing fairness cream.
Olay’s website says the cream brightens skin tone and contains niacinamide, a skin lightening compound.
Nina Davuluri, 32, the first Indian-American to win Miss America, said skin-whitening products sell a ‘racist’ ideology ‘that you need white skin to be beautiful, you need white skin to be successful’.
She has been fighting so-called ‘colourism’ – discrimination based on skin colour – since she saw a headline in an Indian newspaper which asked, ‘Is Miss America too dark to be Miss India’ after she won the title in 2014.
Miss Davuluri last year launched an online petition urging P&G, Unilever, L’Oreal and Johnson & Johnson to stop selling whitening creams.
The petition states: ‘They are sending the message that people are ‘less than’ because they are dark. That they are not enough because of the colour of their skin. That they are not seen, valued, or heard. This is racism.’
She said last night she was shocked that P&G had not done more to address the issue.
Campaigner Kavitha Emmanuel said she founded India’s Dark Is Beautiful campaign in 2009 to ‘address the toxic belief that a person’s worth is measured by the colour of their skin’.
She added: ‘That is the toxic belief that these brands, through their advertisements seem to be propagating.’
Joanne Rondilla, a professor at San Jose State University who has researched skin-lightening in the Philippines, said Harry and Meghan had a ‘responsibility’ to voice concerns about these products with P&G.
‘Like everyone else around the world, I saw that interview with Oprah that Meghan did,’ she added. ‘It was important for her to bring up these issues of colourism. I don’t think this partnership advances that conversation.’
Robin Averbeck, of the Rainforest Action Network, a US environment organisation, called on the Duke and Duchess to end their relationship with P&G because of the firm’s links with FGV Holdings.
‘The fact that P&G has continued to be complicit in human rights abuses, in environmental devastation, is reason enough why this partnership shouldn’t be formed or shouldn’t continue. It showed that full due diligence on the company was not done.’
The Archewell Foundation has said its partnership with P&G will focus on ‘gender equality, more inclusive online spaces, and resilience and impact through sport’.
P&G did not respond to questions about its skin-whitening creams, the US ban on imports from FGV Holdings or its use of wood pulp from Canada.
But in a statement, it said: ‘At P&G, we are committed to doing the right thing across all aspects of our business – without exception. Doing more and doing better is important for us all – for our company, in our communities and for our planet.