Author: The Wall of Law

AP News in Brief at 12:04 a.m. EST

Republicans reject subpoenas as impeachment debate goes on

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Senate plunged into President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial on Tuesday with Republicans abruptly abandoning plans to cram opening arguments into two late-night sessions and Democrats arguing for more witnesses to expose Trump’s “trifecta” of offences.

The turn of events was a setback for Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell and the president’s legal team, exposing a crack in the GOP ranks and the growing political unease over the historic impeachment proceedings unfolding amid a watchful public in an election year.

Chief Justice John Roberts gaveled open the session, with House prosecutors on one side, Trump’s team on the other, in the well of the Senate, as senators sat silently at their desks, under oath to do “impartial justice.” No cellphones or other electronics were allowed.

Opening day stretched deep into the night. Senators remained as the clock passed 10:30 p.m., while Democrats pursued what may be their only chance to force senators to vote on hearing new testimony.

However, Republicans turned back Democratic amendments to subpoena documents from the White House, State Department, Defence Department and budget office, with more votes expected rejecting key witnesses with a front-row seat to Trump’s actions. By the same 53-47 party-line, senators turned aside the Democrats request to subpoena acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.


At 90, Alaska Native woman is 1st counted in US Census

TOKSOOK BAY, Alaska (AP) — Lizzie Chimiugak has lived for 90 years in the windswept western wilds of Alaska, born to a nomadic family who lived in mud homes and followed where the good hunting and fishing led.

Her home now is an outpost on the Bering Sea, Toksook Bay, and on Tuesday she became the first person counted in the U.S. Census, taken every 10 years to apportion representation in Congress and federal money.

“Elders that were before me, if they didn’t die too early, I wouldn’t have been the first person counted,” Lizzie Chimiugak said, speaking Yup’ik language of Yugtun, with family members serving as interpreters. “Right now, they’re considering me as an elder, and they’re asking me questions I’m trying my best to give answers to, or to talk about what it means to be an elder.”

The decennial U.S. census has started in rural Alaska, out of tradition and necessity, ever since the U.S. purchased the territory from Russia in 1867. The ground is still frozen, which allows easier access before the spring melt makes many areas inaccessible to travel and residents scatter to subsistence hunting and fishing grounds. The mail service is spotty in rural Alaska and the internet connectivity unreliable, which makes door-to-door surveying important.

The rest of the nation, including more urban areas of Alaska, begin the census in mid-March.


Outbreak from new virus rises to 440 in China, with 9 dead

BEIJING (AP) — The number of cases of a new virus has risen to 440 in China and the death toll to 9, Chinese health authorities said Wednesday.

Deputy Director of the National Health Commission Li Bin told reporters that the figures were current as of midnight Tuesday. All the deaths had been in Hubei province, home to Wuhan city where the first illnesses from coronavirus were reported in late December.

Li said that marked an increase of 149 confirmed cases. He said Japan and South Korea had confirmed one case each and Thailand three. The U.S. and Taiwan also confirmed one case each on Tuesday.

Concerned about a global outbreak similar to SARS, another coronavirus that spread from China to more than a dozen countries in 2002-2003, numerous nations have adopted screening measures for travellers from China, especially those arriving from Wuhan.

The worries have been heightened by the coming of the Lunar New Year holiday rush, when millions of Chinese travel at home and abroad.


In reversal, Clinton says she’d back Sanders if he’s nominee

WASHINGTON (AP) — In an abrupt about-face, Hillary Clinton said Tuesday night that she would endorse her 2016 rival Bernie Sanders if he wins the Democratic nomination to face President Donald Trump in November.

The former secretary of state had earlier refused to say whether she would endorse Sanders in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published Tuesday, instead telling the outlet: “I’m not going to go there yet.” She had also offered a broad condemnation of the progressive candidate’s style of politics.

“I thought everyone wanted my authentic, unvarnished views!” Clinton tweeted Tuesday night. “But, to be serious, the number one priority for our country and world is retiring Trump, and, as I always have, I will do whatever I can to support our nominee.”

Her initial comments ripped open the scars of the brutal 2016 primary battle between Sanders and Clinton just as Democrats are poised to begin voting on their next nominee. Sanders’ loyalists believed the Democratic establishment had rigged the primary in favour of Clinton, who won the nomination but ended up losing the general election to Trump.

For her part, Clinton wrote in her memoir “What Happened” after her 2016 defeat that she felt some of Sanders’ criticism of her had helped propel Trump to victory, and she begrudged Sanders for not backing her campaign quickly enough after she sewed up the nomination. In The Hollywood Reporter interview, she accused Sanders of fostering a toxic culture in his campaign.


Ex-CIA contractor defends brutal post-9-11 interrogations

FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) — An architect of the brutal CIA interrogation and detention program developed after the Sept. 11 attacks defended the agency and its practices on Tuesday as those techniques become the focus of an effort to dismiss key evidence against five men charged in the terrorist plot.

James Mitchell spent the first day of what is expected to be at least a week of questioning by defence teams at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, providing details about the CIA’s interrogation program as well as what he said was the “context” necessary to understand it.

The CIA was the “tip of the spear” in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and was urgently trying to gather vital intelligence using techniques that had been authorized by the U.S. government, the retired Air Force psychologist told the court.

“We were trying to save American lives,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell is facing questions now because lawyers for the five men accused of planning and providing logistical support for the Sept. 11 attacks are seeking to prevent the government from using statements the defendants gave to the FBI as evidence against them in a war crimes trial scheduled to start next January at the U.S. base in Cuba.


Mexico begins flying, busing migrants back to Honduras

CIUDAD HIDALGO, Mexico (AP) — Hundreds of Central American migrants who entered southern Mexico in recent days have either been pushed back into Guatemala by Mexican troops, shipped to detention centres or returned to Honduras, officials said Tuesday. An unknown number slipped past Mexican authorities and continued north.

The latest migrant caravan provided a public platform for Mexico to show the U.S. government and migrants thinking of making the trip that it has refined its strategy and produced its desired result: This caravan will not advance past its southern border.

What remained unclear was the treatment of the migrants who already find themselves on their way back to the countries they fled last week.

“Mexico doesn’t have the capacity to process so many people in such a simple way in a couple of days,” said Guadalupe Correa Cabrera, a professor at George Mason University studying how the caravans form.

The caravan of thousands had set out from Honduras in hopes Mexico would grant them passage, posing a fresh test of U.S. President Donald Trump’s effort to reduce the flow of migrants arriving at the U.S. border by pressuring other governments to stop them.


Brazilian prosecutors accuse Glenn Greenwald in hacking case

SAO PAULO (AP) — Prosecutors accused U.S. journalist Glenn Greenwald on Tuesday of involvement in hacking the phones of Brazilian officials involved in a corruption investigation, though Brazil’s high court had blocked investigations of the journalist or his Brazil-based news outlet in relation to the case.

A federal judge would have to approve a formal charge based on allegations by prosecutor Wellington Divino Marques de Oliveira that Greenwald helped a group of six people hack into phones of hundreds local authorities.

De Oliveira accuses Greenwald of criminal association and illegal interception of communications. He charges the six alleged hackers with criminal organization, money laundering, cybercrimes and illegal interception of communications.

Brazil’s federal police looked at the same evidence and did not find any wrongdoing by Greenwald. A ruling by Supreme Court Justice Gilmar Mendes later barred investigations of Greenwald and his The Intercept Brasil in relation to the alleged hacking.

Prosecutors decided to recommend charges against the journalist anyway.


2020 hopefuls stuck in Washington deploy surrogates for help

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Steve Sovern had low expectations for a recent event he hosted to support Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign. Iowans are legendary for expecting to meet White House hopefuls in person — multiple times — and the candidate wasn’t going to be there, represented instead by California Rep. Katie Porter.

“Surrogates are usually not much of a draw,” Sovern said.

But 45 people crammed into Sovern’s Cedar Rapids condo, and Porter, an Iowa native, made such a strong case for Warren that several undecided voters left the event saying they planned to caucus for the Democratic senator from Massachusetts.

Porter is one of dozens of surrogates who have deployed across the early voting states in recent weeks to expand the footprint of White House hopefuls before the Iowa caucuses usher in the Democratic contest in less than two weeks. They’ll become even more important this week as four senators running for president will be stuck in Washington to serve as jurors for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.

Progressive star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democratic congresswoman from New York, will appear in Iowa this weekend on behalf of Sen. Bernie Sanders. “Queer Eye” host Jonathan Van Ness will also be in Iowa stumping for Warren in addition to Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and Rep. Joe Kennedy III, who will be in New Hampshire.


Grammys CEO says she was ousted after reporting harassment

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The ousted Grammys CEO fired back at the Recording Academy on Tuesday, alleging that she was removed after complaining about sexual harassment and pay disparities and for calling out conflicts of interest in the nomination process for music’s most prestigious awards.

Lawyers for Deborah Dugan, who was placed on administrative leave last week after six months in the job, filed the discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission just five days before the Grammy Awards. She alleged she was sexually harassed by the academy’s general counsel, Joel Katz, who late Tuesday denied her account.

Dugan detailed the harassment and other issues in an email to an academy human resources executive on Dec. 22, according to the complaint.

The complaint also stated that Dugan was paid less than former academy CEO Neil Portnow, who left the post last year, and that she was also subject to retaliation for refusing to hire Portnow as a consultant for nearly half his former salary.

Portnow had been criticized for saying women need to “step up” when asked backstage at the 2018 show why only two female acts won awards during the live telecast. Portnow called his comments a “poor choice of words” and later said he chose not to seek an extension on his contract.


Jeter 1 vote shy of unanimous, Walker also elected to Hall

NEW YORK (AP) — Known for two decades as No. 2, Derek Jeter is now linked to the number 1 — as in, who was the lone Hall of Fame voter who didn’t put a check mark next to his name?

Jeter came within one vote of being a unanimous pick, falling just shy of the standard set when longtime New York Yankees teammate Mariano Rivera became the first unanimous selection last year. Larry Walker also earned baseball’s highest honour Tuesday in his last chance on the ballot.

For now, the identity and motivation of the non-conformist remains a mystery.

“Well, I look at all the votes that I got,” Jeter said. “Trying to get that many people to agree on something is pretty difficult to do. So that’s not something that’s on mind.”

Longtime shortstop and captain of the Yankees, Jeter appeared on 396 of 397 ballots cast by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. His 99.7% moved above Ken Griffey Jr. (99.3%) for the second-highest share.

The Associated Press

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Jean Charest Won’t Run For Conservative Party Leadership

Former Quebec premier Jean Charest stands as he is recognized by the Speaker of the House of Commons following Question Period on April 1, 2019.

MONTREAL — Former Quebec premier Jean Charest announced Tuesday that he will not seek the federal Conservative leadership, citing the short timeline of the race and a party that has undergone “deep changes” since he left it.

In a statement, Charest said the rules of the leadership race and the tight timeline before the June 27 convention make it hard for a candidate from outside the party like him to recruit the necessary support.

He also said the party has changed a lot since he left it in 1998 to enter provincial politics as Liberal leader. Without getting into specifics, Charest alluded to his own position on “a number of social issues,” which he said were based on “deep convictions.”

He also urged the party to develop a “credible and ambitious plan” to manage natural resources and fight climate change.

Finally, Charest cited his happy family life and busy career as a lawyer and strategic adviser as reasons not to jump back into politics.

Charest, 61, said his decision was made after “careful consideration.”

″During the last weeks, I have received numerous calls from all around the country encouraging me to run for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC),” he wrote.

“In this context, I have considered the possibility of running, while also considering a number of issues including the unity of the country, the management of our natural resources while addressing climate change, the economy and the management of Canada’s public finances and Canada’ role on the international stage.”

Charest, who led the federal Progressive Conservatives from 1993 to 1998 and served as Quebec’s premier from 2003 to 2012, had been testing the waters for a leadership attempt since current Conservative leader Andrew Scheer announced his intention to resign.

His hopes were not helped by the release last week of police warrants that revived allegations of illegal fund-raising in the Quebec Liberal party during Charest’s time as leader.

Watch: The Conservative leadership race has launched

The warrants contain detailed affidavits from major construction industry officials who said they donated to the Liberals during Charest’s tenure, and that they felt pressured by the party’s top fundraiser to give money or risk losing influence with the Liberal government.

Charest has not been charged but his name surfaces in the documents due to his friendship with Marc-Andre Bibeau, the former top fundraiser for the Liberals. Through his lawyer, Charest has denied any knowledge of the illegal donations.

Charest’s statement came after Radio-Canada broadcast a short clip of him announcing his decision not to run. The full interview was set to run later Tuesday.

In both the interview and the statement, Charest expressed hope for a strong national party to emerge to challenge the governing Liberals and “represent each and every region of our country.” 

A Leger poll published this month found that former interim leader Rona Ambrose and ex-cabinet minister Peter MacKay were the favoured leadership choices of 18 per cent and 12 per cent of Conservative supporters, respectively. Charest trailed behind at four per cent.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2020.

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Minnesota man exposed as commander of Nazi-led unit dies

MINNEAPOLIS — A retired Minnesota carpenter whom The Associated Press exposed as a former commander of a Nazi-led unit accused of war atrocities has died.

Michael Karkoc, whose family maintained that he was never a Nazi or committed any war crimes, lived quietly in Minneapolis for decades until AP’s review of U.S. and Ukrainian records in 2013 uncovered his past and prompted investigations in Germany and Poland. Karkoc died Dec. 14, according to cemetery and public records. He was 100.

His son, Andriy Karkoc, hung up on an AP reporter without confirming his father’s death. Officials at the Kozlak-Radulovich Funeral Chapel, which was listed on one website as having handled the funeral arrangements, declined to comment.

But records at Hillside Cemetery in Minneapolis show he was quietly buried there Dec. 19, next to his wife, Nadia Karkoc, who died in 2018. And Minnesota Department of Health records show that a Michael Karkoc with the correct birthday died Dec. 14. The family and funeral home did not publish a public obituary.

Karkoc’s involvement in the war surfaced when a retiree who researched Nazi war crimes approached the AP after coming across Karkoc’s name. The AP investigation relied upon a broad range of interviews and documents, including Nazi military payroll information and company rosters, U.S. Army intelligence files, Ukrainian intelligence findings and Karkoc’s self-published memoir.

The records established that Karkoc was a commander in the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defence Legion, which attacked a Polish village where dozens of women and children were killed in 1944, then lied to American authorities to get into the U.S. after World War II.

His family denied he was ever at the scene of the attack, though a second AP report uncovered testimony from a former soldier in Karkoc’s unit who said Karkoc ordered his men to attack the village, Chlaniow, in retaliation for the slaying of an SS major.

Andriy Karkoc has said his father was never a Nazi and denied he was involved in any war crimes. He has also questioned the validity of AP’s sources and accused the AP of “defamatory and slanderous” allegations.

The AP stories prompted Germany and Poland to investigate. German prosecutors announced in July 2015 that they had shelved their case because the then-96-year-old Karkoc wasn’t fit for trial. But Polish prosecutors announced in March 2017 that they would seek his arrest and extradition, saying his age was no obstacle in seeking to bring him to justice.

An investigative file from the Ukrainian intelligence agency’s archive revealed testimony from Pvt. Ivan Sharko, a Ukrainian soldier under Karkoc’s command. Sharko testified in 1968 that the initial order to attack Chlaniow was given by another officer, but that Karkoc — who fought under the nom de guerre “Wolf” — told his unit to attack the village.

“The commander of our company, Wolf, also gave the command to cordon off the village and check all the houses, and to find and punish the partisans,” Sharko told authorities in Ukraine in 1967 and 1968, for an investigation they were conducting against the Self Defence Legion.

Sharko, who died in the 1980s, also said the legionaries surrounded homes, set them on fire and shot anyone found inside homes or in the streets, according to the Russian-language investigative file.

“How many people were killed in all, I don’t know. I personally saw three corpses of peaceful inhabitants who had been killed,” Sharko was quoted as saying.

Stephen Paskey, who led Nazi investigations for nine years as a prosecutor at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Special Investigations, said Sharko’s testimony is highly credible. He noted that Sharko didn’t appear to be in custody or under investigation when questioned, and many of his statements were confirmed by historical documents.

Thomas Will, the deputy head of Germany’s special prosecutors’ office that investigates Nazi crimes, concluded in 2013 that there was sufficient evidence that Karkoc was present. In 2017, Polish prosecutor Robert Janicki of the National Remembrance Institute, which investigates Nazi and Communist-era crimes against Poles, said years of investigation confirmed “100%” that he was a commander of the unit.

Karkoc, an ethnic Ukrainian, was born in the city of Lutsk in 1919, according to details he provided to American officials. At the time, the area was being fought over by Ukraine, Poland and others; it ended up part of Poland until World War II. Several wartime Nazi documents note the same birth date, but say he was born in Horodok, a town in the same region.

Karkoc didn’t tell U.S. authorities about his military service when he entered the country in 1949. But in a Ukrainian-language memoir published in 1995, Karkoc said he helped found the Ukrainian Self Defence Legion in 1943, in collaboration with the Nazis’ feared SS intelligence agency, to fight on the side of Germany.

He also wrote that he served as a company commander in the unit, which received orders directly from the SS, through the end of the war. The memoir is available at the U.S. Library of Congress and the British Library, and the AP located it online in an electronic Ukrainian library. Karkoc became a U.S. citizen in 1959. He lived for decades in a heavily Eastern European neighbourhood of Minneapolis and was a longtime member of the St. Michael’s and St. George’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church. He worked as a carpenter, and was a member and a secretary in the local branch of the fraternal Ukrainian National Association.

Antin Semeniuk, a friend of Karkoc in Minneapolis, said after the AP’s initial report that Karkoc told him he hadn’t been a Nazi. Rather, Semeniuk said, Karkoc described himself as a Ukrainian patriot who wanted his country to be democratic and free of Nazi and Communist rule.


Associated Press writer David Rising contributed to this story from Berlin; AP writer Randy Herschaft contributed from New York.

Amy Forliti And Steve Karnowski, The Associated Press

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Toronto Police Officer Who Killed Teen On Streetcar Gets Full Parole

James Forcillo is seen here in May 2016 after leaving a courthouse in Toronto. The Parole Board of Canada says the 37-year-old has a low-risk of reoffending.

TORONTO — A police officer who fatally shot a distraught teenager on an empty Toronto streetcar more than six years ago has been granted full parole, with officials noting his progress reintegrating into society.

In a written decision released Tuesday, the Parole Board of Canada said James Forcillo is a low risk for reoffending and has shown a high level of motivation and accountability while on day parole.

The two-member board panel said Forcillo, 37, no longer requires ongoing psychological counselling, which had been a condition of his day parole. But it renewed a restriction barring him from contacting any of the victim’s relatives, in order to “prevent any further trauma” to the grieving family of Sammy Yatim.

“Your actions took the life of a much-loved son, brother, and member of the community. His loss continues to devastate the family. You acknowledge the trauma that you have caused the victim’s family and that you continue to reflect upon the harm that your actions caused,” the panel wrote.

“With the benefit of counselling, you now understand that your own fear, impulsivity, and stress contributed to your poor decision-making, poor problem-solving, and resulted in fatal consequences. As a result, you are now more cautious of the impact of your decisions and are better able to consider the consequences of your actions.”

Forcillo was convicted in 2016 of attempted murder in the shooting of Yatim, who was 18. He was later convicted of perjury for claiming to be living with his ex-wife while on bail awaiting his appeal, when he had in fact moved in with his new fiancée. He was sentenced to a total of six-and-a-half years behind bars for both offences.

The parole board panel said there was no indication Forcillo breached the conditions of his day parole since his release last summer, which it said was “reflective of an offender with high levels of motivation, accountability, and reintegration potential.”

The former officer’s attitude improved during his incarceration and he now shows “no immediate need” in that area, the panel wrote.

It also said Forcillo has taken steps to balance his work life and his responsibilities at home, something it said he struggled with in the time leading up to the shooting.

“As you are now aware that a balanced lifestyle is … necessary in ensuring your safe reintegration, you are focused on maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle. In particular, you spend your free time studying or attending the gym on campus,” it wrote, adding Forcillo has also maintained relationships with his children.

Convicted in 2016

Forcillo is now enrolled in a full-time college program with the goal of becoming an electrician, the document said. “Your success and high marks demonstrate your motivation and commitment to your chosen field,” it said.

Forcillo was one of the first officers to arrive at the scene in the summer of 2013, after someone reported that a teen was exposing himself on the streetcar while brandishing a small knife. By then, Yatim was the only person left on the streetcar.

Forcillo was the only officer to open fire, firing three shots that caused Yatim to fall to the floor of the streetcar, followed by a second volley of six more shots. Another officer then used a Taser device on the teen.

A jury acquitted Forcillo in 2016 of second-degree murder in Yatim’s death, but convicted him of attempted murder in connection with the second volley, which came as Yatim was down and dying.

His lawyers appealed the conviction, arguing the first and second volleys the officer fired were artificially divided into discrete events. They also sought to challenge his initial six-year sentence, which was a year longer than the mandatory minimum.

Ontario’s highest court rejected the appeal, and the Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear the case.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Jan. 21, 2020.

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Are Harry And Meghan Dropping Their Royal Titles, Or What?

The dust is starting to settle from Harry and Meghan’s big announcement that they’re stepping down from the Royal Family and moving to Canada. But there’s still a lot we don’t know.

Last week, for instance, after negotiations ended with Buckingham Palace, it was decided that the couple would be “dropping” their HRH (His or Her Royal Highness) titles. On closer inspection, though, they aren’t actually being stripped of their titles — they’re just agreeing not to use them.

If this is confusing to you, you’re not alone: even royal aides were reportedly confused. HuffPost Canada reached out to Carolyn Harris, a Toronto-based royal historian and author of Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting, for more information.

What do HRH titles mean?

Basically, it gives you elite status that isn’t granted to everyone in the Royal Family. The concept was introduced by King George V in 1917 to limit the number of royals who had high status within the Royal Family.

“In Queen Victoria’s reign, the title was much more extensive,” Harris told HuffPost Canada. Basically, even distant relatives of the monarch received special privileges. But during the First World War, George V was particularly concerned about his German relatives holding a formal status within the British Royal Family.

King George V and the Prince of Wales, later Edward VIII, on a First World War visit to France in 1917. This was the time when George V started restricting the use of royal titles.

As history buffs might know, this was also the era when George V changed the name of the British branch of Germanic-sounding House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to the House of Windsor.

“George was making wholesale changes, not just to royal titles, but to the name of the royal house, and was looking carefully at who would be associated with the British Royal Family going forward,” Harris said. “So the title of HRH is a clear sign of bring a prominent member of the Royal Family.”

Members of the Royal Family without the HRH distinction have to bow or curtsy to the ones that do. 

Who gets to be referred to as HRH?

Nowadays, the title is automatically granted to the children and male line grandchildren of the monarch, although it used to be withheld from granddaughters.

But not everyone who’s entitled to the status uses it. The children of the Queen’s youngest son, Prince Edward, have the right to the HRH title, but Edward and his wife Sophie decided they didn’t want their children to have royal titles. Rather than being raised as prince and princess, their children are styled like the children of an Earl — they’re known as Lady Louise and James the Viscount Severn.

The Queen's youngest son Edward, Earl of Wessex and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex with their children at Bristol Zoo. Their kids were entitled to prince and princess titles, but instead are known as Lady Louise and James the Viscount Severn.

Katharine, the wife of the Queen’s cousin Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, was granted the title when she got married. But she wanted an independent life, choosing to work as a music teacher, so she stepped back from royal duties and stopped using the title.

Has anyone been formally stripped of the HRH title before?

Yes. Non-royals who marry into the family and then get divorced are formally stripped of their HRH privileges. That’s what happened to Diana, Princess of Wales after her divorce from Prince Charles. (At the time, The New York Times wrote that the Queen was reportedly willing to let Diana keep her title, but Charles insisted that she lose it.)

Sarah Ferguson also gave up her HRH status, and became simply the Duchess of York, after her divorce from Prince Andrew.

Princess Diana at St. Vincent's Hospital during a visit to Sydney, Australia in November 1996, several months after her divorce from Prince Charles. She was still the Princess of Wales, but no longer had HRH status.

What’s changing in Harry and Meghan’s titles?

They will no longer use their HRH titles. Harry was born HRH, since he’s one of the Queen’s grandchildren through her male heirs. Meghan became HRH when she married Harry in 2018.

Until a few weeks ago, they were referred to as were His Royal Highness Harry, Duke of Sussex and Her Royal Highness Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. From now on, they’ll be Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. 

And if you were wondering, Harry is still a prince.

Why are Harry and Meghan keeping the titles but not using them?

The palace hasn’t explicitly stated the reason for this change, but Harris thinks it likely has to do with setting a precedent.

“I think if there was a process in which they were stripped of their titles, that would invite scrutiny of the rest of the Royal Family,” she said. “There are His or Her Royal Highnesses among the extended Royal Family who do not undertake duties on behalf of the Queen.”

Prince Andrew, for instance, stepped back from royal duties in the fall, after controversy arose from his connection to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. But he still has HRH titles. So do his daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, who are not working royals.

If Harry and Meghan were to give up those titles, it would likely raise questions about why these other members are allowed to keep them, Harris said.

What’s going to happen to other people’s HRH titles?

There’s been a lot of speculation that when Prince Charles ascends to the throne after his mother’s death, he may take away some of his family members’ HRH titles.

“The Queen has always had a rather inclusive view of the Royal Family,” Harris said. “If you look at the balcony during Trooping the Colour, you see the Queen’s whole extended family: her cousins and their children and grandchildren, and all her children and grandchildren.”

Queen Elizabeth and many members of her extended family watch the Trooping the Colour celebrations on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on June 8, 2019. The Queen has long had an inclusive view of who gets included in the Royal Family.

“Prince Charles’ approach will likely focus on a much smaller number of working members of the Royal Family.”

This would be in line what many modern European monarchies are doing, Harris said. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden recently stripped five of his seven grandchildren of their royal titles, leaving only his two direct heirs.

“There’s a broader European trend towards reducing the number of people who have these titles, and thereby reducing some of the public scrutiny received by junior members of the Royal Family.”

Harris thinks it’s likely that Prince Charles will pursue that route.

“This will likely be the last generation where we see royal cousins representing the monarch,” she said. “Going forward it’s going to be a much smaller number of senior members of the Royal Family.”

So, what does this mean for Sussex Royal?

Patents were filed to trademark “Sussex Royal” in June, and ownership transferred to Harry and Meghan in December. But if they’ve agreed to no longer use their royal titles, can they still refer to themselves that way?

Maybe, Harris said — but they might face some pushback.

“Certainly there are cases of members of the Royal Family getting trademarks in the context or raising money for their charities,” she said. But “the challenge that will come for Harry and Meghan … is if they’re seen as monetizing the role for their own financial gain instead of for their charities.”

Plenty of companies produce unlicensed merchandise featuring Meghan and Harry's images. But the couple would likely face criticism if they sold their own merchandise themselves.

Other members of the Royal Family — even junior members — have been criticized for seemingly using their royal connections for profit, she said.

When Princess Anne’s son Peter Phillips married Montrealer Autumn Kelly, they sold the photos to Hello magazine. Peter doesn’t have the HRH title since he’s not a descendent from the male line, and is a private citizen, with a job in sports management. But still, it “attracted some controversy over whether it was appropriate for the queen’s grandson to do that,” Harris said.

Princess Beatrice, too, faced criticism when she marketed herself as a for-profit speaker at corporate events in 2016.

It’s likely that Meghan and Harry would face similar ire, Harris said, especially given how much media scrutiny is on them right now.

“For their public image, the focus would need to be on their charities going forward.”

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