United Kingdom

Duke and Duchess of Sussex titles 'morally wrong' says resident

Brighton councillors will debate stripping Harry and Meghan of their Sussex titles after thousands signed a petition branding them 'morally wrong' and 'disrespectful'. 

The petition claims Sussex residents should not have to refer to the royal couple as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as the titles are 'entirely non-democratic' and a 'symbol of oppression by the wealthy elite'. 

Campaigner Charles Ross has accumulated more than 3,800 signatures, which means Brighton and Hove City councillors will have to discuss the motion on Thursday.  

But the council cannot strip the couple of their titles, which are given by the Queen, so the petition calls on officials to stop calling them the Sussexes in council documents. 

The petition reads: 'We the undersigned petition Brighton & Hove Council to reject the usage of the titles 'Duke of Sussex' and 'Duchess of Sussex' by the individuals Henry ('Harry') Windsor and Rachel Meghan Markle as morally wrong and disrespectful to the county of East Sussex.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex wave to the crowds in Brighton on a visit on October 3, 2018

Campaigner Charles Ross has accumulated more than 3,800 signatures for his petition (pictured), which means Brighton and Hove City councillors will have to discuss the motion on Thursday

'As residents of Brighton and Hove we call on Brighton and Hove Council to not refer to these individuals by such titles which we believe to be entirely non democratic and symbolic of the oppression of the general public by the wealthy elite.

'Neither will Brighton Council invite or entertain these individuals nor afford them any hospitality or courtesies above and beyond that of an ordinary member of the public.'

The couple were well received on a visit to Sussex last October as they were greeted by huge crowds of well-wishers, with Hove MP Peter Kyle praising them at the time for reflecting Brighton's diversity and calling them 'a great example'. 

Prince Harry greets excited schoolchildren in Brighton as part of a tour of Sussex last October

The Duchess of Sussex receives a bunch of flowers from a well-wisher in Brighton last October

The petition has been rubbished by royal commentator Robert Jobson, who told the Express: 'It's a bit unfair on them - they were there recently and massive crowds turned out.

How the Queen gifted the Sussex titles to Harry and Meghan on their wedding day

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle became the Duke and Duchess of Sussex when they married last year. 

The royal groom's dukedom is the highest rank in the British peerage and marked his marriage to the actress.

Meghan became the first ever Duchess of Sussex as her new husband was made the first Duke of the county in 175 years and the second in history. 

Harry also received Scottish and Northern Irish titles, becoming the Earl of Dumbarton and Baron Kilkeel, making Meghan the Countess of Dumbarton and Baroness Kilkeel.

All royal titles are given by the Queen and it was up to the monarch to choose which one to bestow on her grandson and his wife in May 2018. 

Harry's thoughts on the title would have been taken into account by the Queen in a private discussion between the Prince and his grandmother.

Tradition dictates that royal men receive a title on their wedding.

Prince Augustus Frederick was the first Duke of Sussex. He married twice, but both took place without the consent of the monarch, so neither of his wives could become a 'Duchess of Sussex'. 

'The Cambridges don't live in Cambridge, Prince Charles doesn't live in Wales…

'The titles are just ancient titles that are dished out by the Queen at marriage.'

Thomas Mace-Archer-Mills, founder of the British Monarchists Society, slammed the campaigners' views, telling the Mirror: 'We are utterly dismayed that said petition has been signed by so many.

'This certainly highlights that Brighton and Hove is a hotbed of Republican dissidents and is now proven to be so.

'Such a petition shows utter disdain and contempt for The Crown, not to mention copious amounts of disrespect to, and for, the Royal family.' 

When Mr Ross's petition campaign launched in September, some residents were not entirely convinced.

Hove resident Liv Seabrook called the petition 'a waste of council time' and said it was 'patently absurd' to suggest the council could remove royal titles.

Ms Seabrook said: 'Our city has serious social problems and the council is going to waste time on the sentiment of a disgruntled citizen with nothing better to do than come up with a useless petition.

'There are financial aspects of the monarchy that can usefully be discussed. I for one can confidently say I have never felt the slightest bit oppressed by the fact that we now have as part of our Royal Family, a Duke and Duchess of Sussex.'

Brighton and Hove City Council said it would not comment until the matter has been discussed by councillors.  

Brighton and Hove City Council, which meets at Brighton Town Hall, will discuss the petition tomorrow

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