Since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle first announced they would be stepping back as senior members of the Royal Family on Jan. 8, there have been a lot of questions about what their new roles would look like. As you can imagine, how this works in the scheme of royal tradition is far more complex than just leaving any old job. However, on Saturday, Jan. 18, after several discussions and negotiations, it seems that a final decision will conclude this saga within the Royal Family. The Queen's statement about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is full of praise for her family members and reveals the new plan for the family.
Stepping back as "senior members" of the Royal Family, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stated they wished to eventually "become financially independent," as well as drastically change their living situation by splitting their time between the U.K. and Canada. While the Duchess of Sussex has been spending time with Archie in Canada, the Duke stayed in the United Kingdom for negotiations. Discussions about the couple's future were underway at the beginning of 2020, and Jan. 13 saw a supportive statement from Queen Elizabeth, but left many questions unanswered.
The Queen's Jan. 18 statement finally puts an end to those questions. She begins, "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." She makes it clear that she values the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as family beyond any of the implications. "Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family."
Supporting the idea and the difficulties that the Royal couple have had in the public eye, The Queen continues, "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." HRH Queen Elizabeth hopes that the agreement brings the couple "a happy and peaceful new life." Thanking them for their service to the country and the Commonwealth, The Queen also makes a point to mention Markle with high praise: "[I] am particularly proud of how Meghan has so quickly become one of the family."
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's separation from the Royal life means that these changes will go into effect in the spring:
- The Duke and Duchess of Sussex must step away from Royal duties and official military appointments. Due to this change, they will not receive public funds for Royal duties.
- They will continue their own private patronages and associations with a blessing from The Queen, upholding the same values. However, they will no longer be able to formally represent The Queen.
- The Sussexes have specifically asked "to repay Sovereign Grant expenditure for the refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage," as they will continue to use it as their family home in the United Kingdom.
- The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will not use their HRH titles any longer since they won't be working members of the Royal Family.
To be clear, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are not losing their Royal titles. They just won't be using them publicly since they'll no longer be working for the Royal Family.
Since the changes don't take full effect until the spring, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle may have some final loose ends to tie up. Luckily, the decision to step down as senior members of the Royal Family has come with nothing but support from The Queen and the Royal household, despite the process being a bit complicated.