- - Wednesday, January 15, 2020

The explosive controversy over Prince Harry and his wife, the former Meghan Markle, should make everyone glad that the queen hasn’t abdicated the throne for what passes as the next generation of royals.

Throughout her reign, Queen Elizabeth II has been steadfast in her commitment to duty and service above self. And at a point in life when most of her contemporaries would be grateful to have some semblance of independent living, she continues to reign with the same resolve and commitment as she had upon ascending to the throne in 1952.

Quite sadly, the same cannot be said of her family, as we have seen tragically with the duke and duchess of Sussex, as Prince Harry and Meghan are titled.

As of writing, the settlement the Sussexes will receive as they embark upon a new chapter of life north of the U.S. border in Canada is mostly unknown. However, the queen’s unprecedented personal statement Monday after a 90-minute family summit at her Sandringham estate exhibited a tremendous amount of love for her grandson.

It didn’t have to end this way, especially given the widespread reports that Queen Elizabeth and her ailing husband, Prince Phillip, were deeply offended by the unbecoming manner in which Prince Harry and his American wife announced their intentions to withdraw as working royals. Her majesty could have kicked them to the curb in the same way she fired Prince Andrew, her second son, at the end of last year.



While this is mostly seen as a British drama, there are elements of great interest on this side of the Atlantic.

Ignoring questions over just how the Sussexes will live and work in Canada — the Canadian government says Prince Harry would have to follow standard immigration procedures — the important and apparently unsettled details include tax liabilities owed to the Internal Revenue Service and even U.S. citizenship.

The duke could at some point seek a green card to permanently reside in the United States, though naturalization seems unlikely given he would have to “renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty.”

Meanwhile, the couple’s infant son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, for whom they disavowed one of his father’s secondary titles, holds dual U.K. and U.S. citizenships because Meghan never renounced her citizenship. As a result, any income received by Meghan or Master Mountbatten-Windsor is subject to IRS taxation, regardless of where they live. This might just explain why Queen Elizabeth was so gracious in her statement.

The royal family has vast private or quasi-private wealth and financial holdings on top of the $107.5 million in funding it received this year from British taxpayers. The longer the Sussexes lived off that money the greater the chance that Uncle Sam would start asking questions.

It is widely expected the royals or soon-to-be ex-royals will launch a Clinton Foundation-style nonprofit organization. This would allow them to achieve the financial independence they claim to seek, as there are no shortage of rich donors — you know, all the usual suspects from Hollywood, San Francisco and Manhattan — willing to fund the Sussexes’ new lifestyle under the guise of woke philanthropy. Besides access, the donors would get a lucrative tax deduction, assuming the organization is chartered under the right section of the tax code.

Even if Prince Harry and Meghan lose the style of their royal highnesses, the idea that they will voluntarily disclaim the Sussex dukedom is unlikely as their future livelihood will be entirely dependent upon their personage.

• Dennis Lennox is a political commentator and public affairs consultant. Follow @dennislennox on Twitter.

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