Council responds to petition to strip Duke and Duchess of Sussex of titles – 'We have more pressing issues'

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the WellChild awards at Royal Lancaster Hotel on October 15, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Toby Melville - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend the WellChild awards at Royal Lancaster Hotel on 15 October 2019 in London. [Photo: Getty]

A Brighton council has responded to a petition signed by thousands which campaigned to reject the titles of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

On 1 July of this year, campaigner Charles Ross launched a petition for the Brighton and Hove City Council to stop recognising Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s “arbitrarily and unfairly acquired” royal titles.

While the authorities of the East Sussex seaside town do not have the power to strip the royals of their titles, Ross called “to establish a precedent” so that the local council “will no longer afford official hospitality to those with royal or aristocratic titles nor make usage of those titles in official documents”.

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The document has since attracted some 3,881 signatures.

Yet at a council meeting yesterday, Ross attended to represent the campaign, reported Brighton publication The Argus.

He clarified that it was not a “personal attack” on the duke and duchess themselves but instead “an ideal opportunity to put [Brighton] on the map as a forward-thinking and modern city that rejects archaic and outdated feudal ceremony and doffing our caps to the aristocracy in favour of social justice and fairness for all.”

But the Labour leader of the council Nancy Platts responded that there were “more pressing issues” to deal with.

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (R) and Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (L) arrive to visit the Royal Pavilion in Brighton in East Sussex, southern England, on October 3, 2018. - The Duke and Duchess of Sussex made their first joint official visit to Sussex on October 3. (Photo by Tim IRELAND / POOL / AFP)        (Photo credit should read TIM IRELAND/AFP via Getty Images)
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry visit the Royal Pavilion in Brighton in East Sussex, southern England, on 3 October 2018. [Photo: Getty]

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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.”

Conservative leader Steve Bell also acknowledged the importance of listening to both sides, but questioned whether the 3,881 signatories should be considered representative of the 1.8 million residents of the wider country of Sussex.

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