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Meghan and Prince Harry’s decision to move out of the Commonwealth nation of Canada and to the US has ruffled some feathers within royal circles. They have returned to Meghan’s childhood home of LA and are laying down roots which suggest they intend to stay there for the long term. However, their move has raised questions in regards to Meghan’s bid to become a British citizen.
Kensington Palace confirmed the Duchess of Sussex started her application shortly after her wedding to Harry in May 2018.
Many assume she was in Britain on a visa prior to that.
Yet, to become a citizen of the UK by naturalisation as a spouse, the applicant has to stay in Britain for at least three years and could not spend more than three months per year abroad.
Meghan, on the other hand, is believed to have spent the majority of her time in North America since last November.
The Duchess of Sussex may then follow in the footsteps of another European royal, Christopher O’Neill.
He married Princess Madeleine of Sweden in 2013, but declined to give up his US citizenship in favour of taking on a Swedish one.
The Royal Court of Sweden explained at the time: “Mr Christopher O’Neill is and remains an American citizen, and he intends to continue his business activities as before following his marriage to H.R.H. Princess Madeleine.
“In accordance with royal protocol, a member of the Royal Family should be a Swedish citizen, and should not hold a position of responsibility within business.
“This means that, in accordance with these principles, Mr Christopher O’Neill cannot hold the title H.R.H. Prince of Sweden or Duke of Gästrikland and Hälsingland.
“In view of these requirements, Mr Christopher O’Neill has respectfully requested to remain a private citizen and not to be granted royal rank.”
Meghan may end up leaving her bid for UK citizenship behind, as Mr O’Neill did, to pursue her career now she has officially left the royal frontline.
Royal watchers also spotted that Meghan was introduced as Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle during a recent speech for the UN’s Girl UP Summit.
The decision to keep her maiden name was another sign of her departure from the royal institution — although some believe it may have been an accident by the organisers.
She had stopped using her maiden name in official engagements after her wedding, and is even listed as Rachel Meghan, Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Sussex, on her son’s certificate according to Insider.
By using Markle again, she may be following in Mr O’Neill’s lead.
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Mr O’Neill and Princess Madeleine could have inspired the Sussexes in another area, too.
In 2018 the couple officially moved their family of five to New York City.
In a press release, the Swedish Royal Court announced: “The time and opportunity for the US is good for the family when the children are still in preschool age.”
The couple have three children, Princess Leonore, six, Prince Nicolas, five, and Princess Adrienne, two.
They already had a summer home in Florida and had lived in New York before, during the first few years of their marriage.
They — like the Sussexes — also spent some time living in London, as that was where Mr O’Neill’s business was based.
In October 2019, Madeleine’s father, Carl XVI Gustaf, announced that he would be rescinding the royal status of her children to slim down the Swedish royalty, meaning they are not official members of the royal house and no longer have to perform royal duties.
Madeleine commented on Instagram: “This change has been planned for a long time.
“Chris and I think it’s good that our children are now getting a greater opportunity to shape their own lives as private individuals in the future.”
This move from Sweden echoes that of Prince Charles, who has long said he hopes to reduce the monarchy to the primary heirs.
Meghan and Harry’s decision to move away from the UK reflects the same line of thinking, too, in that they are pursuing financial independence and want to raise their son Archie as a “private citizen”.
They even declined any titles for Archie, to help him lead a life away from the royal spotlight.
In her pursuit of life away from the crown, Meghan may choose to replicate Mr O’Neill’s lead.
However, if the couple stay in the US long-term, it is not known what approach Harry will take towards his own citizenship.
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