Harry and Meghan renounced their royal titles, and the world was surprised. But they were not the first royals to have done so.
Here are three royals who have renounced their titles:
Prince Philip: Ten years later and another royal renounced his right to the throne – this time to join the British Royal Family, rather than to leave. Philip was born a prince of both Denmark and Greece, so his choice to marry Princess Elizabeth saw him renounce his right to not one but two thrones, choosing life as a loyal spouse in favor of being king. The prince, who spent much of his upbringing at school in Scotland, has been a much admired and integral part of the most famous royal family in the world. Always seen walking a respectful few paces behind the sovereign Queen, he fathered Prince Charles, who is now next in line to the British throne, and only recently gave up his regular royal duties and appearances at the age of 96.
Princess Mako: In a move that shook Japanese society, Princess Mako announced she was engaged to fellow university student, Kei Komuro, which would force her to give up her royal title. As the 84-year-old Emperor Akihito’s oldest grandchild, Mako’s decision has reignited fierce debate in Japan about whether women should be allowed to retain Imperial status after marriage and rise to the throne. With fears of the shrinking size of the royal family and the weight of this decision on her shoulders, the couple have postponed their wedding until 2020. There was speculation that this was due to a tabloid splash on Komuro’s mother owing an unpaid debt to his father for her son’s tuition fees, but the couple have dismissed this, saying they just want more time to prepare for marriage more concretely. That said, in January 2019 Komuro announced that his financial issues had been resolved. It is now unknown when Princess Mako will get married, with the coronavirus pandemic likely to have delayed proceedings further.
Princess Nori Sayako: As required by the Imperial Household Law of 1947, Princess Nori Sayako was forced to officially leave the imperial household after marrying a commoner, urban planner Yoshiki Kuroda. The only daughter of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan wasn’t alone in her decision, becoming the sixth female member of the imperial family to marry a commoner. Once accustomed to royal visits abroad, holidaying with other royal families and enjoying her state allowance, the former Imperial Princess had to quickly get used to life outside the palace. She became a High Priestess, learned to vote, pay taxes, drive and do her own grocery shopping, while still occasionally making royal appearances with her family.