Tory MP plans law to strip Harry and Meghan of royal titles for ‘trashing’ monarchy
Bob Seely said the Duke of Sussex “attacking” the monarchy is a “political issue”
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Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely has accused Prince Harry of “attacking” the monarchy and “monetising his misery for public consumption”.
Seely suggested he could bring forward a short private members’ bill in the new year in a bid to amend the 1917 Titles Deprivation Act, which stripped royal titles from those who supported Germany in the First World War.
If passed, the bill would see MPs vote on a resolution that could give the Privy Council the power to downgrade the couple’s royal status. However, Bills that are proposed by individual MPs, and without government backing, rarely pass through Parliament. Seely said he would likely put down the amendment in early 2021, with the Bill likely to be very short.
It comes after a new documentary on the couple began streaming on Netflix on Thursday (8 December), in which Harry accused the royals of having a “huge level of unconscious bias”, while Meghan claimed the media wanted to “destroy” her.
The couple signed lucrative deals - thought to be worth more than £100 million - with Netflix and Spotify after quitting as senior working royals, with the docuseries being the first major output for them on the streaming giant.
The Tory MP said he had been considering his private members’ bill even before the latest controversy over the Netflix docuseries. He said: “There is a political issue. As well as trashing his family and monetising his misery for public consumption, he is also attacking some important institutions in this country.”
Seely asked why Prince Harry continues to use the titles, while “at the same time trashes the institution of monarchy and his family”. He urged the duke to have a “sense of consistency” if he continues to attack the monarchy.
Meanwhile, Labour MP Rachael Maskell already has a bill going through Parliament which would give the monarch new powers to remove titles, or a committee of Parliament to determine that a title should be taken away. Maskell previously said that her constituents made it clear to her that they wanted the Duke of York’s title to be removed.
Elsewhere, employment minister Guy Opperman on Thursday urged “everyone to boycott Netflix” after the first three episodes of Harry and Meghan’s documentary aired on the streaming giant. He described the pair as “utterly irrelevant” to the progress of the UK and the royal family and said they are “clearly a very troubled couple”.
Speaking on BBC’s Question Time, he said: “I think they are clearly a very troubled couple, which I think anybody looking at them can say is a sad state of affairs. That having been said, I agree that they are utterly irrelevant to this country and the progress of this country and the royal family that we all, I believe, support.”
He added: “I don’t think it has a fundamental impact on the royal family. I certainly won’t be watching it. I would urge everyone to boycott Netflix and make sure that we actually focus on the things that matter.”
Opperman went on to say that the extent to which the couple’s lives were “picked over” by the media while they were living in the UK was “unacceptable”, adding: “I do think there is a legitimate question as to media intrusion into some people’s private lives. That is an ongoing debate, which quite clearly the degree of extent to which their lives are picked over is something that, when they were living here, was unacceptable.”