Well here’s some news I definitely wasn’t expecting to write today. Queen Elizabeth better hop on Glassdoor and start researching what kind of questions one might ask during an exit interview. Because Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan have just announced that they have made the decision to quit being senior-level royals.
Prince Harry has been a royal all his life, and Meghan has been the Duchess of Sussex for a little less than two years. And apparently that’s enough for them. Stick an elegant 18th century silver serving fork in them, they’re done. Harry and Meghan made the announcement today on the official Sussex Royal Instagram page. Their official statement explains that they intend to step back as senior royals, and transition to a life in which they’re “financially independent” of “this institution.” Somewhere, Wendy Williams is delivering the world’s most self-satisfied I Told You So.
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“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
There are a whole lot of Who, What, When, Where, and Whys associated with this announcement, and I’m sure this will be just the first of about 1.6 billion updates on the matter. But for right now we know who approved the step back (The Queen, along with Prince Charles, Prince William, and all other “relevant parties“). What’s happening is that Harry and Meghan will now be splitting their time between the UK and North America (probably Canada), which answers the question: Where will Harry and Meghan move in an attempt to get as far as humanly possible from the Royal Family and the British press. It’s not known when they made the decision, but it might have been finalized during their six week break from work, or Christmas holiday in Canada. It’s also not known whether they’ll keep their title as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, or if they’ll go with something a little more regular to match their no-title-having son Archie.
Speaking of Archie, he fills in one of the gaps of the Whys. Harry and Meghan explained in their announcement that they wanted to raise Archie with an appreciation for his royal roots, but far enough away that it’s not the headache it has been. And that’s putting it mildly. Harry and Meghan have made it no secret that they have zero tolerance for how much shit the British press talks about them, and how they’ve had it up to their crowns with everyone criticizing their every move (or flight). Most recently, they decided to sue the Mail on Sunday for publishing a private letter Meghan reportedly sent to her father, Thomas Markle.
And it’s only a matter of time before someone writes that Harry and Meghan are stepping back because they wanted to finally put an end to the dry heaves they get from walking and waving in public with William and Duchess Kate.
There’s been no comment yet from Kensington Palace, or Buckingham Palace, or Clarence House. But if you listen very closely, you might be able to hear Prince Andrew screaming, “Yesssssss thank you, thank you, thank you!” in gratitude for Harry and Meghan taking the focus off him for at least the rest of the month.
UPDATE: Buckingham Palace just released a statement regarding Harry and Meghan’s choice to step back, and let’s just say it sounds like someone wasn’t happy about what they read on the internet this afternoon. Buckingham Palace says that discussions are at an “early stage,” and that these are “complicated issues” that take time, despite what “approach” was chosen by Harry and Meghan.
Buckingham Palace have sent their own statement out, adding that discussions with the couple are at “an early stage.” pic.twitter.com/aCXyEMQuW8
— Omid Scobie (@scobie) January 8, 2020
The Queen totally just put a picture of Harry and Meghan back on her desk, specifically so she could angrily swat it off and into the trash.
UPDATE 2: People magazine says that Harry and Meghan updated the official Sussex Royal website with some further information on their step-back. According to the website, they’re calling their situation a “new working model,” and as such, they will no longer receive funding through the Sovereign Grant (aka how The Queen gets paid). Here’s some more about their NWM (new working model).
Why are The Duke and Duchess of Sussex choosing this new working model?
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex take great pride in their work and are committed to continuing their charitable endeavours as well as establishing new ones. In addition, they value the ability to earn a professional income, which in the current structure they are prohibited from doing. For this reason they have made the choice to become members of the Royal Family with financial independence.
Do any other members of the Royal Family hold a title and earn an income?
Yes, there is precedent for this structure and applies to other current members of the Royal Family who support the monarch and also have full time jobs external to their commitment to the monarchy.
Do The Duke and Duchess of Sussex earn income?
No, under the current structure and financing arrangements, they are prohibited from earning any income in any form.
Do The Duke and Duchess of Sussex benefit financially from their charitable and cause-driven work?
No, see above.
By becoming financially independent, will The Duke and Duchess of Sussex be cutting ties with the monarchy?
As working members of the Royal Family, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain dedicated to maximising Her Majesty’s legacy both in the UK and throughout the Commonwealth. They will continue to proudly do so by supporting their patronages and carrying out works for The Monarchy within the UK or abroad, as called upon.
Given their transition into members of the Royal Family with financial independence, will The Duke and Duchess of Sussex maintain their residence at Frogmore Cottage?
Frogmore Cottage will continue to be the property of Her Majesty the Queen. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will continue to use Frogmore Cottage – with the permission of Her Majesty The Queen – as their official residence as they continue to support the Monarchy, and so that their family will always have a place to call home in the United Kingdom.
Is this change of policy being adopted by other members of the Royal Family?
The changes outlined above apply to The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and their son, Archie. They do not speak on behalf of the other members of The Royal Family in regards to their media relations policies.
So basically, they’ll be keeping their titles while trying to make their own money, which they couldn’t do in their previous position. Do I smell The Tig 2.0?