Queen prohibits Prince Harry and Meghan Markle from using the ‘Sussex Royal’ brand that cost them thousands
The duke and duchess of Sussex have to drop their ‘Sussex Royal’ label after they have decided to resign as working royals.
After lengthy and complex conversations, the Queen and senior officials are supposed to have agreed that it is no longer tenable for the couple to keep the word ‘royal’ in their ‘branding’.
Harry and Meghan have spent tens of thousands of pounds on a new Sussex Royal website in addition to their hugely popular Instagram feed.
They have also attempted to register Sussex Royal as a global trademark for a range of items and activities, including clothing, stationery, books, and teaching materials.
In addition, they have taken steps to found a new charity organization: Sussex Royal, The Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Now it has been made clear that they must ‘re-brand’.
The Mail understands that, in the midst of what has been described as a ‘complex’ situation, the ‘fine detail’ is still being thrown away.
However, it is understood that the couple has accepted that, as part of their new work arrangements, they cannot use the Sussex Royal name as they had hoped.
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex leaves after attending a Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey in central London last March
Harry and Meghan have spent tens of thousands of pounds on a new Sussex Royal website, sussexroyal.com, in addition to their hugely popular Instagram feed. It has now been made clear that they must ‘re-brand’
The development would mean a big blow to the Sussex people, who now start again and re-register everything from their website to their charity under a new label.
Harry and Meghan started using the Sussex Royal branding for the first time last year after separating their household from that of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – known as Kensington Royal.
The Sussexes’ Instagram page, @sussexroyal, has collected 11.2 million followers – the same number of fans as William and Kate’s account.
It was therefore a natural development for Harry and Meghan to use the name for their new charity foundation, which is being launched this year with the support of Buckingham Palace.
And while they were secretly preparing for a new life in Canada, it was clear that Sussex Royal was at the forefront of Harry and Meghan’s plans.
Dozens of trademark applications have been made for everything from bandanas to notebooks, although sources have always emphasized that these were preventive measures to protect the trademark against others and were never intended for commercial use.
The couple has also started using a new website. It went live last month with their announcement of the bomb, with the introduction: “Welcome to the Sussex Royal community, your source for information about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.”
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and the Queen at a ceremony to open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge in Widnes in June 2018
The couple’s decision to resign as senior working princes and pursue “financial independence” put a spanner in the works of Sussex Royal and placed the queen in an unpleasant position
The couple’s decision to resign as senior working royals and pursue “financial independence” has put a spanner in the works of Sussex Royal.
It placed the queen in an unpleasant position, given her old belief of refusing to allow working family members to take advantage of their positions.
The announcement of Her Majesty’s decision to allow her grandson and his wife to lead a new life abroad made it clear to officials that the title of Sussex Royal still had to be re-evaluated.
All members of the family – including Harry and Meghan – were involved in the discussions and it is understood that they all agreed that, in view of Sussexes’ decision to take a step back , would question their use of the word “royal.”
Now, as well as giving up their HRH titles for work purposes and leaving official appointments and patronages – including Harry’s military positions – the Sussex Royal brand will have to be abolished.
That is the sensitivity of the issue, Buckingham Palace officials would not discuss developments last night.
A source told the mail: “In many ways, this is inevitable given their decision to resign, but it must certainly be a blow to the couple because they have invested everything in the Sussex Royal brand. However, the queen would have had little choice.
The original plan of ‘The Sussexes’ – half-in, half-working royals – would never work. As the queen has made clear, they are of course still very beloved members of her family.
But if they don’t perform official duties and are now looking for other commercial opportunities, they simply cannot be allowed to market themselves as royals. “
Harry and Meghan stand with the High Commissioner for Canada in the UK, Janice Charette (right) and the deputy High Commissioner, Sarah Fountain Smith (left), after their visit to Canada House as a thank you for the warm Canadian hospitality that they have received during their recent stay in January 2020
Prince Harry and wife Meghan wave from the Ascot Landau carriage during their carriage procession on the long walk while heading for Windsor Castle after their wedding ceremony in May 2018
The couple would “not regret” their decision to step down.
Discussions about their charity foundation brought them to pre-stigious Stanford University in California last week.
The foundation was expected to be launched in April, with the couple expecting to model the non-profit on that of Barack and Michelle Obama, Bill and Hilary Clinton and Bill and Melinda Gates.
The Sussexes also recently appeared at a conference in Miami organized by banking giant JP Morgan.
They allegedly dined with Jennifer Lopez after they flew in with the company’s private jet from Vancouver – despite having previously called on the world to embrace more environmentally friendly ways of traveling.
The appearance at the top only would have earned the Sussexes up to £ 775,000. Local media reported that Harry appeared on stage with his wife and Gayle King, a TV presenter who went to Meghan’s baby shower last year.
A source told the New York Post that the duke “opened to the rich crowd about the childhood trauma of losing his mother,” adding, “Harry has also touched Megxit, saying he is very difficult for him and Meghan, not regret their decision to resign as senior royals because he wants to protect his family.
“He doesn’t want Meghan and their son Archie to experience what he did as a child.”
ROBERT HARDMAN: The queen loves Harry and Meghan … but she has to stand
ThroughRobert Hardman for the Daily Mail
From the moment the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced their intention to give up their royal duties for a more “progressive role” abroad, one thing never doubted: that “Sussex Royal” brand should disappear.
It may have sounded good to the team of super-smooth American law agents, intellectual property lawyers, and digital marketing experts to advise the couple on their new modus operandi.
But it would never meet the approval of the ultimate referee on all royal things – the queen.
The only surprising thing is that this may have come as a surprise to the Sussexes themselves.
From the earliest age Harry was raised about the holiness of the ‘brand’ that determined his existence.
Almost no one else on earth grew up with the idea that it is perfectly normal for both parents to have their own individual standards to fly above every home or vehicle that they accidentally occupy at some point.
When his grandmother takes on the most important of all her constitutional duties – the opening of the Parliament – she is preceded by the heralds of the College of Arms, guardians of everything that is heraldic (from coats of arms to flags).
Meghan Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry attended a creative industry and business reception last October in the garden of her High Commissioner Residence, Johannesburg, South Africa
The very idea of labeling the monarchy as a brand can reject loyal royalists. In this case, however, the analogy is not only relevant but also crucial to the argument.
Because the definition of what is and what is not ‘royal’ is not just a matter of royal whims. The queen is in fact subject to various laws, including the Trade Marks Act 1994 and even the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property of 1883.
The Sussex people chose not to argue with the queen, but with the law of the country.
Since time immemorial, people have tried to trade on royal connections, so there have long been strict rules that govern everything from the use of the Royal Arms to the use of crowns on grain packs.
It is not about jealousy guarding the official functions, it is about protecting the public against fraud and misrepresentation.
No frost wants anyone to buy defective goods or be taken by some huckster who claims some kind of fake royal origin.
That is precisely why the Royal Warrant Holders Association was founded in the 19th century.
To this day, royal warrants are granted to companies that must have supplied the Royal House over a period of several years. If the royal custom ceases, then the warrant also does that. They are not bought or sold.
They are also not a business asset – they are registered with a person within the company.
Harry and Meghan with the High Commissioner for Canada in the UK last month
Now, Harry and Meghan, quite understandably, have assumed that their own “royal” credentials cannot be blamed, just as they are. After all, they retain the style of HRH even if they will not use it.
But what personally applies to a family member does not apply to what is clearly a commercial enterprise.
The Sussexes ‘understand’ the importance of brand protection, and that is why they have been so busy registering ‘Sussex Royal’ for any kind of potential commercial use (including, we are told, pajamas).
They can therefore hardly object if the queen and her officials, who represent an institution that has been protecting her own brand for centuries, enact a very well-established law to protect their own “intellectual property.”
Perhaps Harry and Meghan should shift their attention from their own elegantly built website to the more mysterious cut-outs of the official Royal Household website.
There they will find detailed instructions from the Lord Chamberlain’s Office on how companies can claim any kind of ‘royal’ status. Much of it is in any case not governed by the palace but by the cabinet.
In other words, Harry and Meghan will have to arrange their plans with Michael Gove and grandma.
The official royal website may not have the beautiful artistic shots like the ones on sussexroyal.com, but it’s pretty accurate.
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and their son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor meet Archbishop Desmond Tutu in Cape Town last September
For example: Sections 55 and 1047 of the Companies Act 2006 and Regulation 8 of the Limited Liability Partnerships (Application of Companies Act 2006) Regulations 2009 prohibit companies (including foreign companies) … from being registered under a name that is one of the sensitive words specified in the Company, Limited Liability Partnership and Business Names (Sensitive Words and Expressions) Regulations 2014, unless approval has been obtained from the Secretary of State. “
The sensitive words specified in the 2014 Regulations are Royal, Queen, King …
A few hours before he left for his new life in Vancouver last month, the Duke of Sussex delivered that depressed speech at a charity dinner, Sentebale.
In it he spoke about his “sadness” in rejecting his plans to create a new, privately financed semi-royal existence.
It was his response to the Queen’s statement of the previous day in which she expressed her love and support for the couple in their attempts to “create a happy and peaceful new life.”
It was generally seen as a rather chaste riposte, especially given the generosity of the Queen’s words at such a delicate time.
Don’t let it grumble like that anymore. The queen’s love for her grandson and his wife has not changed anything.
The Sussexes Instagram page, @sussexroyal, has collected 11.2 million followers – the same number of fans as William and Kate’s account
However, this issue is business only. Sticking to ‘Sussex Royal’ falls under the heading ‘duty’ and not ‘family’.
The Queen’s father had to make some very difficult decisions when his brother, the former Edward VIII, left the ship in 1936. This situation, of course, does not resemble the Abdication Crisis, but it is primarily the duty of the monarch to the Crown.
The queen is not completely immobile with regard to her “brand.” She is very wise and often very generous.
At the great royal moments such as jubilees, for example, she will announce an amnesty about the use of the royal arms, giving souvenir makers a free run to produce all kinds of commemorative statues – from biscuit tins to toilet rolls – for a specific period.
But that certainly does not mean a permanent free-for-all.
Of course Harry and Meghan must be given the time to reconfigure their new businesses.
And of course there will be a few gray areas and misunderstandings in the coming years.
But the overarching rule remains the same: the royal imprimatur – and everything that it entails – must always remain exclusively in the hands of the Sovereign.