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7 royals who gave up their titles for love

From Prince Harry to Princess Mako...

royals leaving roles© Photo: Getty Images
Sharnaz Shahid
Deputy Online Editor
February 14, 2023
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Over the years, there have been plenty of royals who have surprised the world after they rejected their titles to protect the ones they love.

Royal watchers witnessed Prince Harry publicaly declare his love for his wife Meghan and their son Archie before the Sussexes announced their decision to step back from royal duties in order to become "financially independent". In a recent interview with CBS' Anderson Cooper to talk about his memoir, Spare, Harry was asked whether he would ever return to a royal role, here's what he had to say...

WATCH: Prince Harry talks return to royal duties

We take a look at some of the most powerful gestures these and other royal lovebirds have made.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry at Platinum Jubilee© Photo: Getty Images

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex

On 8 January 2020, Prince Harry and Meghan announced their plans to step back as senior royals and split their time between the UK and North America.

GALLERY: 10 rare photos of royals kissing in public to celebrate Valentine's Day

At the time, they released a statement, which read: "After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend to step back as 'senior' members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen."

While the couple retain their HRH stylings, they are not permitted to use them. 

Harry and Meghan now live in Montecito, Santa Barbara with their children, Archie and Lilibet.

Prince Philip and the Queen© Photo: Getty Images

Prince Philip

Although Prince Philip was a part of the British royal family, he actually had to renounce his claim to not one but two thrones when he wed Princess Elizabeth in 1947. He was a prince in both Greece and Denmark. After his marriage, Philip took his mother's maiden name - Mountbatten. For his sacrifice, the Queen gave him some titles such as Baron Greenwich and Duke of Edinburgh.

The Duke passed away at the age of 99 in April 2021, while Queen Elizabeth died at the age of 96 in September 2022. 

Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson© Photo: Getty Images

King Edward VIII

This former royal is perhaps the most famous royal who abdicated their position for love. After less than a year on the throne, Edward left London to marry Wallis Simpson.

MORE: Royal love stories: how these lovebirds found each other

"I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as king as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love," he said in his official announcement.

Princess Mako© Photo: Getty Images

Princess Mako

Princess Mako of Japan is one of the more recent royals to renounce their title for love. Back in 2017, she declined her right to the throne in favour of marrying commoner Kei Komuro. The declaration wasn't necessarily her choice, though. Per Japanese royal law, a female royal must renounce her title if her partner lacks an aristocratic title.

In October 2021, it was confirmed that Princess Mako had married her college sweetheart Kei, thus losing her royal status. She also declined a payment offered to royal females upon their departure from the family.

Princess Sayako wedding© Photo: Getty Images

Princess Sayako

Years before Princess Mako of Japan was forced to give up her title, there was this Japanese princess – the only daughter of Emperor Akihito. When she married commoner, Yoshiki Kuroda, she left behind the imperial household and all the benefits that went along with it.

Prince Friso and Mable Wisse Smit© Photo: Getty Images

Prince Friso of Orange-Nassau

When this Dutch royal married Mable Wisse Smit in 2004, he did so without the official blessing of the Dutch Parliament. He then abdicated his right to the throne (had his older brother predeceased him). Until his passing in 2013, Friso and his family were still considered members of the royal family, just not the Dutch Royal House.

King Carol II© Photo: Getty Images

King Carol II

This one-time king was forced to abdicate his throne twice: once for love when he was caught having an affair with a French woman in 1925, and then again for political reasons when he was forced into exile in 1940. He eventually married one of his consorts, Magda Lupescu, in 1947.

LISTEN: The lonely and shocking true story behind the birth of Lady Louise Windsor 

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