Oh hey, some late-Friday breaking news: Buckingham Palace has confirmed that Prince Harry and The Duchess of Sussex will stop using “Sussex Royal” in the Spring after their official exit date. The DM reported this earlier this week, and we now have official confirmation.
A Buckingham Palace spokesperson says:
While The Duke and Duchess are focused on plans to establish a new non-profit organisation, given the specific UK government rules surrounding use of the word ‘Royal’, it has been therefore agreed that their non-profit organisation, when it is announced this Spring, will not be named Sussex Royal Foundation.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex do not intend to use ‘SussexRoyal’ in any territory post Spring 2020.
Therefore the trademark applications that were filed as protective measures, acting on advice from and following the same model for The Royal Foundation, have been removed.Omid Scobie Twitter
For reference on exactly why Harry and Meghan cannot use the word “royal” in their future activities, Victoria Murphy linked this document: Guidance on the use of royal arms, names and images (opens a PDF). The most relevant sections are on page 8, which outlines specifics on the word “royal”.
This is not surprising. While the conversation regarding removing the use of “royal” from Harry and Meghan’s brand has historically not been focused on the actual laws governing the use of “royal” in commercial context – which is fair; I doubt many people knew the laws before now (I didn’t, so no shade to anyone else who didn’t) – this decision has nothing to do with The Queen banning anything or seeking revenge or whatever else. Harry and Meghan have to abide by the laws. And the laws are different for The Royal Foundation and Harry and Meghan’s ventures considering the context of commercialization.
On that note, I do find it interesting that Harry and Meghan have consistently mentioned in recent press releases other royals who have made choices that they are making, without providing the context of potential differences. It’s like Harry and Meghan are trying to defend their decisions by dragging up other royals’ decisions, even if they don’t apply or are contextually different.
For example, when Harry and Meghan announced they would not spend Christmas with The Queen, they made reference to other royals who decided to spend Christmas with the bride’s family and not the royal family, saying: “This decision is in line with precedent set previously by other members of the Royal Family”. Harry and Meghan didn’t say specifically but we all know they were referencing William and Kate, who have spent two separate Christmases with Kate’s family in 2012 and 2016.
Then when Harry and Meghan dropped their website, on the funding page, they made reference to other royals who hold titles but also work commercially, saying: “Do any other members of the Royal Family hold a title and earn an income? Yes, there is precedent for this structure and applies to other current members of the Royal Family who support the monarch and also have full time jobs external to their commitment to the monarchy.”
And now, of course, here, with referencing that their trademark applications were modeled off of the Royal Foundation’s trademarks: “acting on advice from and following the same model for The Royal Foundation”.
Completely fair to reference William and Kate’s Christmases with the Middletons as a way to deflect criticism, but the other two references are not contextually relevant.
I said at the time that none of the other royals Harry and Meghan could have possibly been referencing on their funding page were in the same position as what Harry and Meghan were asking for: having taxpayer funded security while undertaking official engagements on behalf of The Queen and trading off their royal status to earn large amounts of commercial income. Harry and Meghan trying to use the York girls or Anne’s children as cover for what they asked for was not appropriate given the different contexts for their roles, which Harry and Meghan either didn’t understand or purposefully omitted.
Here, again, the contexts are different between The Royal Foundation and Harry and Meghan’s commercial enterprises. If Harry and Meghan had stayed as working royals and didn’t branch out into commercial activities, then their trademarks as following the pattern The Royal Foundation set would be valid. Their foundation would be a solely charitable entity within the royal family structure, so use of the word “royal” would be applicable. But because Harry and Meghan are exiting as working royals, their foundation and commercial activities fall outside of the existing royal family structure and are therefore subject to outside laws. … I say as a someone without robust knowledge of UK laws.
I’m not saying Harry and Meghan shouldn’t have filed those trademarks, if indeed they had originally planned to remain working royals, because at the time it was following the same pattern as The Royal Foundation. I’m saying that using that as an excuse now is not appropriate given the additional context of exiting as working royals and the commercial activities they plan to pursue. They offered the excuse without the context of: when Harry and Meghan filed the trademarks they weren’t planning on exiting as working royals and becoming commercial entities. Context matters here and either they are ignorant of it, ignorant of it’s significance, or are purposefully omitting it, all of which are not great.
Having said all that, I am still looking forward to Meghan’s upcoming engagements. I need new thumbnails! All the ones I have are so old and boring, and I keep having to reuse them over and over.