Explained: Prince Harry backdating start of US residency is causing a huge stir - here's why it shouldn't be

In an exclusive article, The Sun revealed on 18 April that Prince Harry backdated the start of his US residency to the date he gave the keys to Frogmore Cottage back. Is it really a big deal?

Prince Harry backdated residency
© Kevin Mazur / GETTY IMAGES
Prince Harry backdated residency

Prince Harry is once again making headlines in the UK for doing something the tabloids do not like. This time, it was revealed by The Sun that Prince Harry seems to have backdated his US residency to the day he gave up Frogmore Cottage on a document that has been obtained by the tabloid.

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If you are not familiar with the specifics, here’s a roundup. In January 2020, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced on Instagram that they intended to step back as senior members of the Royal Family. They explained they wanted to become financially independent and live in North America. Though their statement showcased a clear need for independence and a strong desire to not remain in the UK, they also wrote they wanted to continue working to ‘fully support Her Majesty The Queen’.

That plan did not work out and, in March 2020, they made their last official appearance as senior members of the Firm. That's when they made their official move to North America—which is where they had been spending more time since late 2019.

Jumping ahead to March 2023, the Sussexes were ‘requested to vacate their residence at Frogmore Cottage’ by King Charles. By June of the same year they had given the key back.

And, although they had hoped that UK media’s obsession with them would stop after their move to the US, it hasn’t been the case.

Prince Harry backdates the start of his US residency

Now back to this document that has been making the headlines.

UK tabloid The Sun obtained a document from the UK government agency, Companies House—an agency that maintains the register for all the companies in the country.

The document is that of Travalyst Limited—a company that was founded by the Duke of Sussex in 2019. According to their website this is what they do:

The goal is to bring credible, consistent sustainability information to the mainstream, helping people make more informed travel choices.

In the Companies House form it states that the new country of residence for Prince Harry is the United States and that this change occurred on 29 June 2023.

The reporting on this story

This tiny detail has created a wave of negative coverage on the Prince. In fact, when breaking the story, The Sun titled their article:

‘Wounded’ Harry backdated US residency to exact day he & Meg were evicted from UK base to make point to King & William

The tabloid also spoke to a royal author, Phil Dampier, who shared a similar stance on the matter. According to the author, this backdating indicates that the Duke of Sussex ‘has cut ties with the UK’.

The royal author continued:

As always with Harry a lot can be read into his actions. Being ousted from Frogmore Cottage wounded him deeply.
Charles and William knew it had to be done to emphasise Harry and Meghan were outside The Firm but he probably still thought he could keep a base here. Now he’s shown he accepts his life is in the US.

Later in the article it is written:

Mr Dampier believes he may never live in the UK again, and said he would not be missed.

He added that, in his view, the British public ‘have lost respect for him and regard him as the prince of idleness and division’.

After The Sun’s revelations, Mirror also covered the story and stated that the document is a clear sign the Duke no longer ‘plans to return to live in the UK any time soon’.

Just like everything else the Duke and Duchess of Sussex do, it attracts criticism. However, is this change of date really worth all the noise?

Prince Harry has already considered US citizenship

Firstly, the backdating of the document to 29 June 2023 is technically correct: Prince Harry did indeed lose his last remaining place of residence in the UK on that day. Moreover, since the beginning of 2024, he has made no secret that he would consider US citizenship.

In an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America while he was at an Invictus Games event in Canada, he explained:

I have considered it, yeah. The thought has crossed my mind but not a high priority right now.

It should be noted that Prince Harry would need to give up his titles were he to become a US citizen.

The Sussexes' move to North America was in late 2019

Secondly, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been living in North America, Canada then the US, since late 2019. Of course, giving up their last residence in the UK was a significant moment in indicating their split from the Royal Family, but this recent document just makes their move to the US business official.

However, as we saw with the reporting done by The Sun and the Mirror, the document is now being perceived as a sign that Prince Harry has cut all ties with the UK and his family. While the Prince isn’t as close as he used to be with many members of the Firm but recent events have proven that he is still willing to be part of the family. He himself has said that he wants ‘a family and not an institution’.

When King Charles’s health diagnosis was announced, the Prince jumped on a plane and spoke with his father. Though it was a short meeting, it still was understood to be an encouraging sign that tensions could be eased. Furthermore, Prince Harry is still close with his cousin Eugenie. Finally, there were reports in April 2024 that suggested that King Charles wanted to spend more time with Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.

Security concerns prevent his UK return

In addition, one must remember that Prince Harry’s permanent return to the UK has been made difficult, if not impossible, with the fact that he would face security issues. Those concerns have been at the heart of much media coverage, as well as a publicised trial. In 2022, Prince Harry’s legal representative explained:

The U.K. will always be Prince Harry's home and a country he wants his wife and children to be safe in. With the lack of police protection, comes too great a personal risk.

The price of independence

Finally, when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle decided to move to the US, they explained in their now-famous 8 January 2020 statement that they were seeking independence. It was also clear that the couple was looking to reduce media harassment. Those wishes only became reality through their move to North America. Therefore, is it really that big of a deal that the Duke chose to backdate this document?

Not really. Especially when that date is technically the day he lost his residence in the UK…

Read more:

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Harper’s Bazaar: King Charles Evicts Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan from Frogmore Cottage

Cosmopolitan: Prince Harry Renounces His UK Residency, Backdates It to When He Was Evicted from Frogmore Cottage

The Sun: ‘Wounded’ Harry backdated US residency to exact day he & Meg were evicted from UK base to make point to King & William

Mirror: Prince Harry cuts ties with the UK with major sign on official documents

Duke and Duchess of Sussex on Instagram

Travalyst - About

The Telegraph: ‘Prince Harry has ‘considered’ becoming a US citizen – but he’d have to give up his titles

Page Six: King Charles may invite Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to Balmoral this summer: royal source’

Were Prince Harry and Meghan telling the truth? Fresh revelations could link Megxit to Prince William Were Prince Harry and Meghan telling the truth? Fresh revelations could link Megxit to Prince William