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Harry and Meghan on first name terms

The informality of the Queen’s statement after the Sandringham summit was striking and refreshing. Despite the potentially serious constitutional significance of the agenda, the official bulletin chose to refer to Harry and Meghan and not the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

In doing so, the Queen was signalling her sympathy for the couple’s wish to step back from a calendar full of royal engagements. Her Majesty may have been annoyed but she was showing her softer side. The public never refer to them as anything other than Harry and Meghan and now we see that royal protocol can be just as familiar.

At a time when titles often seem tarnished by political behaviour that is less than honest and the honours system is frequently criticised for its rewards to party cronies, we applaud the simplicity of the Sandringham statement regarding the two people at the centre. Referring to Harry and Meghan by their first names was gracious and modern and a popular step away from stuffiness.

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