Buckingham Palace has strenuously denied Prince Harry was at risk of losing his dukedom during talks over his future in the royal family.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were granted the historic titles of Duke and Duchess of Sussex when they married in 2018.
However, the palace has now been forced to deny reports that the Queen considered stripping the pair of the titles following their decision to withdraw from the front lines of royal life – with Prince Harry reportedly flying out to Canada on Monday evening where the couple plan to raise their son Archie away from the public eye.
A source told the Evening Standard that removing the Sussex name “was seriously considered and discussed at the highest level”.
But palace insiders have since said the assertion was “categorically untrue”.
The source added that discussions to resolve the crisis between officials and members of the royal family had been described as “extremely friendly and constructive” when they ended.
According to reports, the couple would have been expected to continue into the future under one of Harry’s more junior titles – potentially as the earl and countess of Dumbarton – but there the Queen and Prince Charles feared such a move could be considered petty.
The couple have already put in the legwork to use the name well into the future – filing to trademark the “Sussex Royal” brand in June 2019 to protect its use in a number of areas from clothing to charitable causes.
On Monday, Prince Harry was pictured at the UK-Africa Investment Summit in London, where he held a number of private meetings, including with Boris Johnson.
The prime minister and the duke had an informal “catch-up” chat at the event, meeting for 20 minutes one-to-one without any aides present.
It marked one of his few remaining official engagements before the Sussexes take a “leap of faith” and leave the monarchy for a new life in Canada, with the freedom to take on commercial ventures.
Additional reporting by Press Association