Prince Harry has ‘considered’ becoming a US citizen – but he’d have to give up his titles

The Duke has said he has 'no idea' what is stopping him from getting American citizenship
The Duke has said he has 'no idea' what is stopping him from gaining American citizenship - NETFLIX

The Duke of Sussex has said he has “considered” becoming an American citizen, in a move that would appear to compel him to renounce his titles.

In an interview with breakfast television show Good Morning America, the Duke said he had “no idea” what was stopping him.

Asked whether he would “think about becoming a citizen”, the Duke replied: “I have considered it, yeah.”

He added: “The thought has crossed my mind but not a high priority right now”.

According to policy published by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, any application would require him to renounce his title.

The Duke appeared on Good Morning America on his trip to Whistler, Canada
The Duke appeared on Good Morning America during his trip to Whistler, Canada - JENNIFER GAUTHIER/REUTERS

It would be one resolution to the long-running criticism of the Sussexes, who continue to use their titles despite their public disparagement of the Royal family and institution.

Critics have called for the King to strip them of their titles, a move it is understood the palace has never considered.

Others have argued they should drop them voluntarily. They have already put their HRH titles into abeyance under an agreement made when Elizabeth II was alive.

The Sussexes left the UK in October 2019 and stayed at a friend’s house in Canada for an extended family break. They then flew to California and, in January 2020, announced they would be stepping back from the working Royal family.

They have since bought their own home in Montecito, with a mortgage, where they live with their two children.

The Duchess is understood to have begun the process of applying for UK citizenship during her short time in Britain, but she did not complete it. She remains a US citizen and the children are reported to have dual citizenship.

Critics have said the Duke and Duchess of Sussex should voluntarily give up their titles
Critics have said the Duke and Duchess of Sussex should voluntarily give up their titles - MEGA

US immigration policy states that “any applicant who has any titles of heredity or positions of nobility in any foreign state must renounce the title or the position”.

Part J of the USCIS policy manual, about the oath of allegiance, states: “The applicant must expressly renounce the title in a public ceremony and USCIS must record the renunciation as part of the proceedings.

“Failure to renounce the title of position shows a lack of attachment to the Constitution.”

In order to renounce a title, the applicant must say: “I further renounce the title of (give title or titles) which I have heretofore held” or “I further renounce the order of nobility (give the order of nobility) to which I have heretofore belonged.”

The decision would also have implications for tax.

Acquiring US citizenship could lead to the Duke, who is now earning money privately as well as having inherited wealth, paying tax in two countries.

Boris Johnson, a former prime minister, renounced his own American citizenship in 2015, in part over high tax bills.

The Duke’s US visa is already a subject of some controversy after a conservative American think tank argued his application should be made public as a result of his admission, in his memoir, of previously taking drugs. A federal court hearing is scheduled for next week.

Christi Hufford Jackson, the head of the US Immigration Practice at Laura Devine Immigration in London, said if the Duke was actively pursuing US citizenship, he would need to renounce his title and order of nobility. But, she added: “It would be a matter of UK law whether he would be giving up his position in line to the throne – his place in the queue.

“This also begs the question: if he gives his title up and becomes a US citizen, can he get his title and place in the queue back? If he did, he would very possibly lose his US citizenship as it could be considered an expatriating act.”

She speculated that “in spirit”,  would mean his “place in the queue”, but that the rules were yet to be tested.

During the interview with Good Morning America, the Duke was asked how it felt to be in California when there was so much going on with his family in Britain, where his father is undergoing cancer treatment.

“I have my own family,” said the Duke. “As we all do. So my family, and my life in California, is as it is.

“I’ve got other trips planned that would take me through or back to the UK so I’ll stop and see my family as much as I can.”