Prince Harry and Meghan Markle shocked the world and his family members when they announced on Instagram that they planned to step back from their roles as senior royals and become financially independent. Their plan included dividing their time between their current residence in the United Kingdom and a future home at an as of yet undisclosed location in North America.
The young couple already broke with British royal tradition when they elected to not give their son, Archie, a title when he was born last year. As part of their transition plan, Harry and Meghan’s titles of His/Her Royal Highness have been officially removed. They retain their titles of Prince and Duchess.
Voluntarily relinquishing royal titles seems to be a growing trend in Europe. Last year, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden announced that five of his grandchildren would no longer hold their titles of His/Her Royal Highness. His heir, the Crown Princess Victoria, and her daughter retain their titles as next in line to the throne and will continue to fulfill their duties as members of the royal family.
Reducing the royal family reduces the financial burden for taxpayers and grants more freedom to the de-titled members. The parents of Sweden’s ex-royal grandchildren said that their kids will have more opportunities to shape their lives as individuals.
It’s too soon to tell if monarchies, in general, are completely outdated, but it’s not a positive sign that so many of the new generation are willingly giving up their membership in the royal families they were born into.