Latest update: It’s official — Meghan and Harry are no longer “working members” of the Royal Family and will lose their “Highnesses” titles. The Queen has made a new personal statement about the Sussexes’s decision to step down as senior royals. Read it below!
Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan are kicking off 2020 with some huge, history-making news. On January 8, the royal couple set the Internet ablaze when they made a bombshell announcement via social media that they will be taking a step back from their roles as senior royals. The unprecedented move also sees the two royals planning to earn their keep and split their time between the UK and North America, Canada in particular.
“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” the pair wrote.
“We intend 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.”
Check out their Instagram post below:
View this post on Instagram
“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend 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. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages. This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity. We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.” – The Duke and Duchess of Sussex For more information, please visit sussexroyal.com (link in bio) Image © PA
The pair explained that it is with their fans’ encouragement that they plan to make the transition, and they will continue to honour their time between supporting the Queen and their various patronages.
“This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity.”
The royal couple finished their post: “We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.”
The news has come as a shock to royal watchers, especially given the pair had made their first official royal appearance of 2020 at Canada House in London in early January.
The Palace responds
Shortly after Meghan and Harry’s announcement, the Palace released a terse statement on behalf of The Queen, which read:
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.A Statement from Buckingham Palace
“Emergency” summit called
On Monday (Jan 13), an emergency summit was called between senior royal family members to discuss the Sussexes’ new role. The Queen issued a statement that same day, saying that she is “entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family”.
She expresses that even though they “would have preferred them to remain full-time working Members of the Royal Family”, they are respectful of the couple’s wish to “live a more independent life”.
She also notes that there will be a “period of transition” and that these are “complex matters for [her] family to resolve”, and asked for “final decisions to be reached in the coming days”. You can read her statement in full at the Royal Family’s website.
“No longer working royals”
On Saturday (Jan 18), another statement from Buckingham Palace confirmed the finer details of the couple’s future as they step back from royal life. For one, they will no longer be able to use their “Highnesses” titles and will step back from a number of royal duties, including “official military appointments.”
“The Sussexes will not use their HRH titles as they are no longer working members of the Royal Family,” the statement reads. “They will no longer receive public funds for Royal duties. With The Queen’s blessing, the Sussexes will continue to maintain their private patronages and associations.”
“While they can no longer formally represent The Queen, the Sussexes have made clear that everything they do will continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty.”
The couple will also repay the £2.4 million (about S$4.2 million) of taxpayers money spent on the 2019 renovations of their Windsor home, Frogmore Cottage, although it will still belong to them.
The Queen’s personal statement
The Queen also released a rare personal statement that directly addresses the reason why Harry and Meghan wished to step back.
“I recognise the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life,” she writes, saying that “Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family.”
You can read her full statement below and at the Royal Family’s official website:
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Clues that led to this moment
Meghan and Harry are not, and have never been, a conventional royal couple. From the moment they started dating to their wedding ceremony and even Meghan’s pregnancy, the dynamic duo have been determined to forge their own path, even if that means pushing – and breaking – the boundaries of royal tradition.
The more we look back at their decisions over the past couple of years, the more we realised that this moment was a long time coming. Below, we detail eight tell-tale signs that show the royal couple have been wanting to step away from royal life: