Harry and Megs went off. *flaming Elmo gif*
In a somewhat unexpected move, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have announced their decision to step down as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family.
Last night, the couple released a statement explaining their decision, saying it was the culmination of “many months of reflection and internal discussions”.
The whole affair has prompted many questions – let’s try and answer a few of them.
Harry and Meghan intend to to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, “while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen”.
They’ll be splitting their time between the UK and North America, a move they hope will keep their eight-month-old son Archie in touch with his royal roots while allowing them to launch a new “charitable entity”.
Well, why wouldn’t they, TBH? Both of them have struggled with the constant media scrutiny that royal life entails – and Harry has been deeply affected by the death of his mother, Diana.
Last year, the couple filed lawsuits against several British tabloids over what Harry has described as a “ruthless campaign” against his wife, likening the press’ treatment of Meghan to what Diana faced:
I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditised to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.
In an ITV documentary filmed during their tour of Africa last year, they were unusually candid about how they were coping, with Meghan admitting she was “not okay”. This decision has most likely been a long time in the making.
The new Sussex Royal website goes into more detail about why they are choosing this ‘working model’ – one of the main reasons appearing to be that they want to earn their own money.
The couple will no longer receive money from the taxpayer-funded Sovereign Grant, which they say has covered 5% of their expenses until now.
However, the Sussexes have implied they will continue to receive money from the estate of Harry’s dad, Prince Charles, which has funded 95% of their expenditure.
[The Duke and Duchess of Sussex] value the ability to earn a professional income, which in the current structure they are prohibited from doing. For this reason they have made a choice to become members of the Royal Family with financial independence.
It’s unclear how they plan to make their own money, but safe to say they won’t be handing out CVs in the local shopping centre. Most likely they’ll keep themselves going through this mysterious new ‘charitable entity’ they plan on launching.
As SussexRoyal.com says it’s the ‘official website of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’, it does look like they’re hanging on to those. Harry’s cousins, the Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, hold titles and have jobs, so it’s not unheard of.
While in the UK, the Sussexes will continue to live in Frogmore Cottage (recently refurbished with that sweet, sweet taxpayer money) with the permission of the Queen.
The statement says ‘North America’, but many royal watchers suspect that they’ll choose Canada over Meghan’s home of California. They’re just back from an extended Christmas break in British Columbia, and their first royal engagement of 2020 was to visit Canada’s High Commission in London to thank them for the warm welcome they received there.
What’s more, the city of Toronto is very close to Meghan’s heart as she spent a lot of time there while filming Suits. See? It all adds up.
Oh yes. The website outlines the couple’s ‘revised media approach’, which includes dropping out of the Royal Rota, a system that allows certain British media outlets (some of which Harry and Meghan are in the process of suing) ‘exclusive inside access’ to their official engagements.
They also took the opportunity to throw a dig at the UK media:
Britain’s royal correspondents are regarded internationally as credible sources of both the work of members of The Royal Family as well as of their private lives. This misconception propels coverage that is often carried by other outlets around the world, amplifying frequent misreporting.
“Regrettably, stories that may have been filed accurately by royal correspondents are, also, often edited or rewritten by media editorial teams to present false impressions.” Oof.
A statement from her office at Buckingham Palace said: “Discussions with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage. We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.
According to BBC royal correspondent Jonny Dymond, Buckingham Palace has been “blindsided” by the announcement and “hurt” by their decision to step away from their roles. Hmm.
The announcement is only the beginning, however. What in the world is going to happen next? We’ll have to wait and see. *grabs popcorn*