Here’s What We Know About Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Taking a ‘Step Back’ From Royal Duties
A guide to the shakeup in the royal family.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle shocked the world—and reportedly the Queen—when they announced their intentions to take a “step back” from the royal family. As the couple receives cheers and jeers for their plans to “work to become financially independent” while “continuing to fully support Her Majesty the Queen,” we are all left with so many questions! Here’s what we know from the Duke and Duchess themselves and from royal analysts.
This Wasn’t a Decision They Made Lightly
The couple has been open about the pressures of royal life and how the British media has affected their peace of mind and safety. In fact, they are currently in the middle of lawsuits against three British tabloids for invasion of privacy, phone hacking and mistreatment.
“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,” they wrote in their joint statement.
They Are in the Market for a New Home
The couple plans to live in both the United Kingdom in their current home, Frogmore Cottage, on the grounds of Windsor Castle, as well as in Canada.
"We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honor our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages," their statement said.
This has never been done by a senior member of the royal family and has raised quite a few eyebrows.
Becoming Independent Could Be Tricky
On their website, the couple detailed how they will begin making their own money and will only use money from the Sovereign Grant, which is money from British taxpayers that supports the queen and senior royals, for their public duties. Royal analysts say this is where it could get very tricky because if the Duke and Duchess begin touring the world and getting paid to speak, they are profiting off being from the family they are stepping back from. The couple also wants to continue to use royal security, which is funded by taxpayers. This too has upset many people who feel that the Duke and Duchess would be abusing the luxuries given to the royal family.
The News May Have Caught the Queen Off Guard
About an hour after their announcement, the Queen released a short statement that some say suggests she was blindsided by the news.
"Discussions with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage," a statement from the palace reads. "We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through."
It is now being reported that Meghan has gone back to Canada to be with baby Archie while Harry stays to meet with the Queen, his father and brother to iron out the details of the bold move.
When it Comes to Media, Things are Changing
In another bold move, the Duke and Duchess say that when it comes to the press, they will no longer use the “Royal Rota,” which gives particular reporters from various British news organizations exclusive coverage of the Royal Family. These reporters cover the story and then share with other media outlets. Instead, the couple says they will only work with media outlets of their choosing. Harry has often discussed his distaste for the British media, citing the press hounding his own mother during her life and after her death and their mistreatment of Meghan.
Reactions to the News Have Been Mixed
While the couple’s bombshell news has received praise for putting their family first and moving the monarchy into the future, they are also receiving harsh criticism for their decision and how they shared it with the world. Even London's Madame Tussauds museum is showing their support for the Queen by announcing the removal of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s waxworks from its Royal Family set. Yikes.
As the Duke and Duchess brace themselves for changes ahead, their new way of life will surely change the monarchy forever.