Social media was abuzz after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, decided to step back as ‘senior members’ of the Royal family. Internet was flooded with a barrage of opinions on the couple’s decision to take a “progressive new role” which was also aimed at giving their son a chance to grow up “normally” with awareness about his royal heritage.
The Royal couple, in a statement, said that they intend to become financially independent while extending full support to The Queen. “We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages,” the statement read.
Soon after the announcement, reports emerged that Queen Elizabeth II and senior Royals called on aides to find a "workable solution". Buckingham Palace issued a statement saying discussions with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage. “We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through,” read the statement.
However, it’s not the first time that members of royal families have relinquished their titles to live a relatively common life. King Edward VIII abdicated this throne to marry Wallis Simpson, an American socialite and divorcee, in 1937 which threatened a constitutional crisis in the United Kingdom. The couple lived together until Edward’s death in 1972 and Wallis died in 1986 at the age of 89.
Queen Elizabeth's husband, Prince Phillip was born a Royal to Greece and Denmark but had to relinquish the title to marry the Queen and accepted English title. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s daughter, Princess Anne, married a commoner Mark Phillips who turned down the offer of Earldom to Phillips.
Carol II was another Royal member, the oldest son of Romania’s ruler, who had to renounce his claim to the throne due to his extra-marital affairs with Magda Lupescu. Though he became the King in 1930 through a coup d'état, he was forced to live in exile ten years later. In 1947, Carol and Lupescu got married and stayed together until the former’s death in 1953.
Other royal members who had to renounce their position are Japanese princess Atsuko for marrying a dairy farmer and Princess Ubolratana of Thai royals who fell in love with Peter Jensen and married him in 1972.