Prince Harry & Meghan Markle Shed Their Royal Titles

The Royal Family has been in the news lately, and not because of an engagement, wedding, or birth. The new decade has just begun, and there are already changes afoot for the Royal Family. On January 8th, Meghan and Harry announced a plan to step back from their royal duties and begin living part-time in Canada. On an Instagram post, they explained the decision they had made after many months of deliberation. This announcement came after their six-week holiday in Canada. They had hoped to “balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honor our duty to the Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages.” With this transition they were also hoping to be able to raise their son, Archie, to appreciate the royal traditions while also having space to begin the next chapter of their lives. They had planned to continue to collaborate with the Queen, The Prince of Wales, and The Duke of Cambridge. Once this post was released to the world, it seemed like everyone was buzzing about what would happen next, and what exactly this would look like. Everybody was also anxiously awaiting to hear how the Queen felt about it all. 

 

Following this announcement the Queen called a special meeting between herself, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge, and Harry as the official arrangements had to be made and sorted out. Ten days after Meghan and Harry’s announcement, the Queen along with Buckingham Palace, made announcements clarifying what will happen going forward. While the announcement from the Palace clarified plans, the announcement from the Queen expressed her opinion on the matter, writing : 

 

"Following many months of conversations and more recent discussions, I am pleased that together we have found a constructive and supportive way forward for my grandson and his family.Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family. 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. I want to thank them for all their dedicated work across this country, the Commonwealth and beyond, and am particularly proud of how Meghan has quickly become one of the family. It is my whole family's hope that today's agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life." 

 

Buckingham Palace provided the logistics that had been speculated about over the previous ten days: 

"The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are grateful to Her Majesty and the Royal Family for their ongoing support as they embark on the next chapter of their lives. As agreed in this new arrangement, they understand that they are required to step back from royal duties, including official military appointments. 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 Sussexes will not use their HRH titles as they are no longer working members of the Royal Family. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have shared their wish to repay Sovereign Grant expenditure for the refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, which will remain their UK family home. Buckingham Palace does not comment on the details of security arrangements. There are well established independent processes to determine the need for publicly-funded security. This new model will take effect in the spring of 2020." 

 

But what exactly does that mean? 

 

According to an article from The New York Times this is one of the most dramatic ruptures within the family since the abdication of King Edward VIII in 1936. The speculations and discussions around what will or won’t happen has taken over the country, overshadowing the impending separation from the European Union, The New York Times reports. The important points to note are that while Harry will remain sixth in the line of succession, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will no longer be referred to as His or Her Royal Highness, and they will no longer formally represent The Queen. They will be repaying the $3 million dollars of taxpayer money used to refurbish and renovate their Windsor Castle residence. Harry and Meghan will no longer receive any public funds, and will be allowed to begin earning money in the private sector. Prince Charles has stated that he will continue to provide financial support, but it is unclear whether this money will come from his estate or not. There has still be no comment about what the security arrangements will be for them going forward in North America.  

 

While there is a lot that still unclear regarding how this will all play out going forward, and the impact it will have on the family and the world’s reception of them one thing is clear; the Royal Family has endured through many ups and downs and have managed to come out the other end still standing. This change will definitely shake things up, leading the family into a new chapter and also possibly providing a model for future members of the family who feel similarly. However, the Royal Family is not going anywhere anytime soon.