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Is Prince Harry still in the British line of succession?

Does Harry's decision to step back from his royal duties mean he's no longer in line to be king?
/ Source: TODAY

Even though Prince Harry has stepped back from his royal duties, it doesn't mean he has been removed from the line of succession to the British throne.

The decision by Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, to walk away from being senior members of the royal family has meant accepting no more public funding, repaying $3 million in renovations on their London home and no longer using their HRH titles, but it doesn't mean there have been any changes in the royal line of succession.

Prince Harry remains sixth in line to the throne regardless of the new arrangement in which he has stepped back from his royal duties. BEN STANSALL / AFP/Getty Images

Harry remains sixth in line to the throne held by his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, although the chances of him ever ascending to king are remote. He is not only behind his father, Prince Charles, and older brother, Prince William, he also is behind William's three young children, Prince George, 6, Princess Charlotte, 4, and Prince Louis, 1, according to the British rules of succession.

Harry and Meghan also have retained their titles of His Royal Highness and Her Royal Highness, they just will not be using them.

"They remain HRH, they simply won't be using their HRH status,'' royal analyst Victoria Arbiter said on TODAY Monday. "And the reason for that is because the monarchy has to be very careful that there's no indication of people cashing in or monetizing the monarchy or their association to the monarchy. They remain HRH, they just simply can't use it."

Even those without HRH titles, like Harry and Meghan's 9-month-old son, Archie, remains in line to the throne. Archie is one spot behind Harry in seventh in the line of succession.

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In an announcement outlining more details from the royal family's meeting at Sandringham Estate following Harry and Meghan's announcement, the duke and duchess noted Harry's place in line to the throne will stay the same.

"As the grandson of Her Majesty and second son of The Prince of Wales, Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex remains sixth in line to the throne of The British Monarchy and the Order of Precedence is unchanged," the website reads.

Royals have been stripped of their HRH titles in the past. Harry's mother, the late Princess Diana, lost her HRH title in 1996 because she divorced Prince Charles.

"There's famous stories of Prince William comforting Diana when she was crying over it, saying, 'Don't worry Mummy, one day when I'm king I'll reinstate your HRH,''' Arbiter said.

The changes have also raised questions over whether Harry and Meghan will now use a last name. Since the couple was named the Duke and Duchess of Sussex by the queen on their wedding day in 2018, it's possible they could use Sussex as a last name.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and the former Kate Middleton, have used Cambridge as the last name for George and Charlotte at school.

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However, the royal website states that if any member of the family needs to use a last name, it's Mountbatten-Windsor, which comes from Prince Phillip's last name of Mountbatten and the name Queen Elizabeth II's grandfather, King George V, took in 1917 from Windsor Castle. Archie has Mountbatten-Windsor listed as his last name on his birth certificate.

The new arrangement also has raised the question of who will be footing the bill for the extensive security protecting Harry, Meghan and Archie, who plan to live much of the time in Canada. Arbiter said the "jury's still out" on whether it will be British taxpayers, the Canadian government or some other source paying the tab.

This story was updated on Feb. 21, 2020.