What does HRH mean and who can use it? | The Sun
18th September 2022

‘HER Royal Highness’ or ‘His Royal Highness’ are titles used for some members of the Royal – but not all of them.

There are a number of rules surrounding who can and cannot be called this title, the title is gender specific and in the plural is ‘Their Royal Highnesses’ (TRH).

What does HRH mean?

HRH stands for either His or Her Royal Highness, depending on the gender of the person holding the honorific.

The title of ‘Royal Highness’ is believed to have been created on the insistence of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria, who was Governor of the Spanish Netherlands, Cardinal of the Holy Catholic Church, Infante of Spain, Infante of Portugal (until 1640), Archduke of Austria, Archbishop of Toledo (1619–41), and a military commander during the Thirty Years' War.

Since its inception this honorific has been used in some form by royal families all around the world, including the United Kingdom.


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Who can use HRH?

The rules surrounding this title in the UK were declared, in a letter patent, by King George V, who in 1917, decided that this could be used by the children and male-line grandchildren of the monarch.

The spouse of a member of the royal family with this title, may also receive this honorific, but will lose it in the event of divorce.

This is why during her marriage to the newly appointed King Charles, Princess Diana was known as HRH The Princess of Wales but became known as Diana, Princess of Wales.

For this same reason, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York is also no longer a HRH.

Members of the Royal family who do hold this tile, can also be stripped of it at the request of the monarch.

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are no longer known by this, following their decision to step down as working royals.

The Duke of York is also no longer referred to as HRH, following controversy surrounding his friendship to the convicted peadophile and sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

He lost the right to be referred to as HRH after he settled in court with Virginia Giuffre, who has accused to Prince of sexual abuse while she was trafficked by Epstein.

Who is HRH now?

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The members of the Royal family who currently hold the title of HRH are:

  • Princess Anne, Princess Royal
  • Prince William, Prince of Wales
  • Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales
  • Prince George of Wales
  • Princess Charlotte of Wales
  • Prince Louis of Wales
  • The Earl of Wessex
  • Sophie, Countess of Wessex
  • Princess Beatrice of York
  • Princess Eugenie of York
  • Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester
  • Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester
  • Prince Edward, Duke of Kent
  • Katherine, Duchess of Kent
  • Prince Michael of Kent
  • Princess Michael of Kent
  • Princess Alexandra, the Honourable Lady Ogilvy

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