Conservative MP Bob Seely has ignited a new controversy within the Royal Family by proposing a bill that could strip Prince Harry and Meghan Markle of their Duke and Duchess titles. Seely, representing the Isle of Wight, is likening this legislative move to the ‘nuclear option’ in response to the ongoing ‘racism’ row fueled by claims made in Omid Scobie’s book, Endgame.
The bill draws inspiration from laws enacted during the First World War to strip enemy German nobles of their British titles. Seely, a member of the Commons’ Foreign Affairs Committee, expressed his concerns over the seriousness of the allegations made in Scobie’s book. He emphasized that the use of race as a tool to smear the Royal Family is “poisonously insidious.”
While sources close to Harry and Meghan deny their involvement in Scobie’s claims, Seely doubts the credibility of these denials, stating that the allegations have cast a shadow over the Royal Family.
The Wartime Powers Resurrected
Seely’s proposed Titles Deprivation 1917 Amendment Bill aims to resurrect wartime powers by adapting legislation from the First World War. The bill would force the Commons to consider removing the Duke and Duchess standing from Harry and Meghan, turning them into plain Mr and Mrs Sussex.
The wording of the bill has been cleared with Parliament’s Table Office, responsible for overseeing draft legislation, and is set to be listed on the Commons’ Order Paper next week. The move by Seely is considered highly unusual, as politicians typically steer clear of royal controversies.
However, the ‘racism‘ claims have prompted rare levels of condemnation, with Security Minister Tom Tugendhat praising the ‘dignity’ of senior royals and labeling the allegations as ‘rumor and scuttlebutt.’ A poll indicates that 51% of the public believes Harry and Meghan should have their Duke and Duchess titles revoked, intensifying the pressure on the Royal Family to respond.
Royal Response and Lingering Controversy
Buckingham Palace is said to be ‘considering all options’ in response to the proposed legislation, and the King is expected to consult with Prince William to discuss their approach. A formal meeting, however, has not been scheduled yet.
The royal race row, originating from Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey over two years ago, has now been rekindled by Scobie’s book, causing a renewed storm of controversy.
While Scobie has expressed frustration over the events of the week, Buckingham Palace is reportedly investigating the leak of Meghan’s letter mentioned in the book. Thomas Markle, Meghan’s estranged father, has also weighed in on the controversy, expressing surprise at the couple’s lack of public distancing.
Seely’s draft legislation, titled ‘a Bill to amend [the Act] to deprive in certain circumstances Princes of their British Dignities and Titles,’ seeks to address the gravity of the situation by utilizing historical wartime powers.