Queen considered removing Prince Harry, Meghan Markle's duke, duchess status - report

Queen Elizabeth considered stripping Prince Harry and Meghan Markle of their Duke and Duchess statuses, allowing them to only use their lesser titles.

"The Duke of Sussex" is an ancient royal title, and the Queen wanted his [Harry] and Meghan Markle's rank to be in line with their reduced duties once they officially step back from their royal jobs, the Evening Standard was told.

Harry would have been referred to as Earl of Dumbarton, and Meghan would be known as a countess. It would put them on par with Prince Edward - the Queen's youngest child - and his wife Sophie who are the Earl and Countess of Wessex.

An anonymous source told the Evening Standard that the Queen and Prince Charles didn't want to appear "petty" by removing the Sussex title.

"The Sussex title is one of the ancient royal dukedoms given to him ahead of his wedding to Meghan, along with other titles. Removing it was seriously considered and discussed at the highest level," the source said.

Harry and Meghan are, however, banned from using His and Her Royal Highness in public and for commercial use.

In a passionate speech on Sunday (local time), Harry said they felt there was "no other option" but to renounce their senior royalty status.

He told the audience he wants them "to hear the truth" from him.

"Not as a Prince, or a Duke - but as Harry, the same person that many of you have watched grow up over the last 35 years, but with a clearer perspective.

"The UK is my home and a place that I love. That will never change."

The pair intend to split their time between the UK and North America, where Meghan is from.

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