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How the Mighty are 'Fallen': Members of UK Royal Family Who Have Been Stripped of Titles

© AP Photo / Frank AugsteinBritain's Queen Elizabeth, center, and members of the royal family attend the annual Trooping the Colour Ceremony in London, Saturday, June 8, 2019.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth, center, and members of the royal family attend the annual Trooping the Colour Ceremony in London, Saturday, June 8, 2019.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.01.2022
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To become a royal seems a daunting task – one either has to earn the title by birth or by marrying a royal. But to be stripped of a title seems to be an even more daunting task. Nevertheless, some individuals have managed to do just that.
Queen Elizabeth's second son Prince Andrew has lost his military titles and royal patronages, which have been returned to the monarch, Buckingham Palace said. The Duke of York will also stop using the title His Royal Highness in an official capacity. The palace made the decision as the royal is facing a civil lawsuit in the United States.
The 61-year-old royal has been accused by an American woman, Virginia Giuffre, who claims she was forced into an intimate relationship with Prince Andrew, who purportedly slept with her at least three times, including when she was a minor under US law.

Prince Andrew joins other members of the British Royal Family who have been stripped of titles.

King Edward VIII aka Title Can't Buy Me Love

One often hears that relationships are hard work, with partners making compromises and even sacrificing for each other – giving up on careers, relocating to a different country, and not wearing that old Nirvana t-shirt full of holes (for the record, it didn't look that bad). It would not be an exaggeration to say that Prince Edward was the king of sacrifices.
On 20 January 1936, King George V died following a short illness and his eldest son ascended to the throne. The Prince of Wales was then dating Wallis Simpson, an American socialite, who was in the process of getting a divorce. The UK government was not pleased with their relationship and when Edward informed Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin about his intention to marry his significant other, Baldwin told him that the government would not approve of it.

At the time, the Church of England opposed remarriage after divorce. The royal proposed an alternative solution, which would have seen Wallis Simpson not becoming queen consort, but enjoying a lesser title instead. That proposal was rejected too. The royal then abdicated from the throne to be with his beloved. Edward VIII's reign lasted 324 days. He was stripped of the title of Prince of Wales and given the title of Duke of Windsor with the style of Royal Highness.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle aka We Want to Break Free

Britain's Royal Family experienced an unpleasant sense of déjà vu, when on 8 January 2020, the Sussexes revealed they wanted to step down from senior roles in the family in order to work to become financially independent. The couple also said they wanted to balance their time between the United Kingdom and North America, but stressed that they wanted to continue their work with patronages.

The media immediately compared the move to King Edward VIII's abdication because Meghan Markle is a US citizen and was previously married. Their decision, which was dubbed Megxit, has polarised the public, with one side expressing support for the pair and the other attacking the royals. The criticism stemmed from the mansion the couple lived in being renovated using taxpayers' money as well as concerns that Britons would continue footing the bill for the Sussexes when it comes to their travel expenses and protection from the Metropolitan Police.

The couple, however, repaid the money that was spent on their mansion and are no longer entitled to the protection by Scotland Yard.
Commenting on their decision to step down, the couple said several things led to their departure, including constant pressure from the media and the public as well as the "racist" treatment of Meghan Markle by the press.

The Sussexes retained their HRH (His or Her Royal Higness) titles, but no longer use them in any official capacity. However, they were stripped of their patronages, while Prince Harry, who served in the army and was deployed to Afghanistan, lost his military titles and honours.

Princess Diana aka Queen of Hearts

Born Diana Spencer, she became a member of Britain's Royal Family after she married Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne. She quickly became popular among the public due to her activism – she worked with the Red Cross to remove landmines in war zones, helped AIDS and cancer patients, as well as people suffering from mental illnesses.

In 1995, she shocked the country after revealing that her husband was unfaithful to her in an interview with the BBC. Diana spoke about the challenges she faced being a royal and famously said she wanted to be the queen of people's hearts rather than the Queen of the United Kingdom. She was stripped of her HRH title following the divorce with Prince Charles. Diana tragically died in a car crash in Paris in 1997.
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