The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been “demoted” on the Royal family’s website to bottom billing alongside the Duke of York.
Until recently, the couple featured midway down the rankings, below senior members of the family but ahead of minor royals such as the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent, Princess Alexandra and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.
When the webpage was updated to reflect the order of succession following Queen Elizabeth’s death, the Sussexes and Prince Andrew were repositioned at the bottom of the page.
The rearrangement might reflect the King’s vision of a slimmed-down monarchy, elevating the status of those who support the monarch in his duties.
The late Queen’s cousins, Princess Alexandra, 85, the Duke of Kent, 86, and the Duke of Gloucester, 78, are still officially classified as working members of the family.
Prince Michael of Kent, 80, and his wife, Marie-Christine, are not working royals and have been removed from the page entirely.
The 200-plus public engagements undertaken by the Kents for the not-for-profit sector are funded by the Prince’s own household, rather than the taxpayer.
It comes around 15 months after the Sussexes were first nudged down the rankings on the royal website, shifting from a position directly below the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as they were then, to below the Wessexes and Princess Anne.
The new changes are likely to be received in California with a weary sigh.
The Sussexes are thought to have returned home on the day after the Queen’s funeral feeling more ostracised than ever, their new status in the general hierarchy having been made abundantly clear.
Barely on speaking terms with several of their closest relatives, the lack of communication between Buckingham Palace and their own office could be blamed for various dramas from a mistaken invitation to a state reception to confusion over military uniforms, not to mention differing versions of exactly when Prince Harry learnt of his grandmother’s death.
As grandchildren of the sovereign, they automatically became a prince and princess upon the Queen’s death and are entitled to be styled His Royal Highness and Her Royal Highness.
Yet although the new titles of the Prince and Princess of Wales have been updated on the royal website, Archie and Lilibet’s have not, despite other changes being made.
Sources have suggested that the only sign that the Sussex children will not be allowed to use their titles is the fact that it has not been publicly acknowledged on the website.
Asked about the discrepancy in the aftermath of the Queen’s death, a spokesman for the King said: “Updating live on a website doesn’t quite work.”
He added: “We will be working through updating the website as and when we get information.”
Meanwhile, it has emerged that the Duchess’s podcast, Archetypes, will return to Spotify next Tuesday following a four-week break due to the death of the Queen.
The episode will feature comedian Margaret Cho in conversation about Asian American tropes in the entertainment industry.