Meghan Markle spared from ‘abusive’ petition to remove title – Green councillor backs it

Meghan and Prince Harry have been targeted by a petition asking the council of Brighton and Hove to drop the usage of their royal titles and to not extend them any official invitation in the future, as previously reported by The petition was discussed by councillors yesterday afternoon, who simply took note of it but decided not to move forward with motions. This means Harry and Meghan will continue to be known as Duke and Duchess of Sussex and be extended official invitations to the area. 

Councillors who gathered yesterday at 4.30pm discussed the petition, signed by more than 3,800 people, after hearing an appeal from Charles Ross, the local resident who launched the proposal on July 1.

Mr Ross said he didn’t mean to offend Meghan and Harry as individuals with his petition, but he wanted to highlight the “strong republican sentiment” in Brighton.

He said: “This is an ideal opportunity to put this city on the map as a forward-thinking and modern city that rejects archaic and outdated feudal ceremony and doffing our caps to the aristocracy in favour of social justice and fairness for all.

“Indeed it would be a fine honour and a proud moment if our good councillors would have the courage today to set Brighton on the path to being the first openly republican city in the United Kingdom.” 

The Labour leader of the council argued the local council had “more pressing issues” than discussing republican ideas – especially considering that only the Crown has the power to strip a royal of their title.

She said: “We have more pressing issues – of homelessness, the climate crisis and the effect of austerity and ensuring the economic wellbeing of our residents.

“We respect the views on both sides but, given the pressing issues we have got, we need to make good use of council resources.”

Steve Bell, the Conservative leader in the council, said the number of signatories of the petition didn’t represent the large Brighton and Hove council, where 1.8 million people live.

He added: “As Conservatives, we are very proud to have a Duke and Duchess of Sussex and will welcome them any time they chose to come here.”

While Labour, Tories and Independent councillors dismissed the petition, Mr Ross’s proposal was welcomed by the Green group leader, Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty – who called it “fantastic”.

He said: “We have to respect that more than 3,000 people supported this petition.

“My personal preference would be to send this on to the decision-making structures for a report to understand what we can do.

“But I don’t think the rest of the council is with us.”

Indeed, the petition ended up only being noted by Labour and Green councillors, while two Independent councillors and the Conservatives voted against even noting it.

The decision not to move forward with the proposal was applauded by royalist group British Monarchists Society.

However, its founder Thomas Mace-Archer-Mills said, the petition itself was “quite abusive” and it was completely “senseless” in the first place to “ask a council to attack internationally famous members of the most well known Royal family in the world”. 

Mr Mace-Archer-Mills said: “This petition is quite abusive towards a young family that has only asked for a bit of privacy, who are now threatened with the stripping of titles within a council which has no right to remove anything gifted to them by the Head of State.

“To further add insult to injury and deem the petition an instrument to deny an official invitation to and not to further receive warranted visits to the people of Brighton and Hove in the future of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex is in fact insulting, offensive and distasteful.

“This petition is abusive in many ways to a family that has only ever served and sacrificed for the public good.

“Considering Harry himself is a veteran and seasoned soldier, what a way to thank him for his service.”     

While condemning the content of the petition, Mr Thomas Mace-Archer-Mills added that it was a “useful exercise in democracy”.

Moreover, the founder of the royalist organisation added, the proposal highlighted just how royal titles give lustre to the location they are linked to.

He said: “A Royal title does not necessarily give elevation to the person holding it, but more so to the area in which the title originates.

“The lustre and rise of a titled Royal person gravitates equally along with the location which has given name to the said royal title.

“Despite whatever feelings and true motives were behind Mr Ross’ attempt to enshrine himself the ‘republican hero of Sussex’, a title he would surely enjoy using, his efforts will been and continue to be in vain as long as there are people, and organisations such as the British Monarchists Society, that see, understand and realise the educated need for our beloved monarchy and cherished Crown.”  

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