“What Prince Harry & Duchess Meghan Stepping Down as ‘Senior’ Royals Really Means”
Here’s a breakdown of what Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan stepping down as senior royals really means. The couple’s road to independence is one that they hope will bring them the personal and professional satisfaction that they so desperately crave. The couple is now on the road to financial independence and is looking forward to their new lives outside of the spotlight and life on their own terms.
The closed-door family discussions were conducted by Prince Harry and Queen Elizabeth. Prince William and Prince Charles were also in attendance. Initially, Harry had hoped to hold onto his military titles, while working in a part-time capacity for his grandmother. However, she made it known that logistically he would have to choose between private citizenship and independence with his wife and child, or life in the proverbial fishbowl as a celebrated member of the monarchy. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been permitted to retain their titles but will have to give up the use of the HRH (His/Her Royal Highness) distinction. Harry was also stripped of his military titles and even his Commonwealth Youth Ambassador role. Next, the couple will have to pay rent to Queen Elizabeth for the privilege of staying at Frogmore Cottage. Meghan and Harry will also have to repay the $3.1 Million in public funds used to pay for renovations at their former residence. There is even debate whether or not the newlyweds will be permitted to continue branding themselves as “Sussex Royal” on their website and other materials.
Related: Prince Harry & Prince William’s Complicated Relationship, Explained
On January 19, at a benefit for his Sentebale organization, Harry addressed the weeks of conjecture and negotiations with his famous family. The normally dashing royal looked weary as he read a statement to a room full of attendees (via CNN):
“The decision that I have made for my wife and I to step back, is not one I made lightly. It was so many months of talks after so many years of challenges. And I know I haven’t always gotten it right, but as far as this goes, there really was no other option. What I want to make clear is we’re not walking away, and we certainly aren’t walking away from you. Our hope was to continue serving the Queen, the Commonwealth, and my military associations, but without public funding. Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible. I’ve accepted this, knowing that it doesn’t change who I am or how committed I am. But I hope that helps you understand what it had to come to, that I would step my family back from all I have ever known, to take a step forward into what I hope can be a more peaceful life.”
On her first official day as a newly appointed private citizen, Meghan was photographed on a walk with the couple’s two dogs, while cradling baby Archie against her chest. She was all smiles as two security guards followed close behind. The trolls and press didn’t waste much time criticizing her for everything ranging from the way she carried her son, to the smile on her face as her picture was taken. Markle’s father, Thomas, spoke out against his daughter and son-in-law walking away from the monarchy. He told Britain’s Channel 5: “They are destroying it, they are cheapening it, they’re making it shabby … They are turning it into a Walmart with a crown on it now. It is something that is ridiculous, they shouldn’t be doing this.”
By stepping down from their royal duties, Harry and Meghan have embarked on a new chapter of their lives. There has been deep speculation that their departure from acting in Queen Elizabeth’s interest is a step towards the eradication of the monarchy, but that’s a huge leap. Since Harry and Meghan already trademarked the name of their charity, Sussex Royal, they had already begun separating themselves from the monarchy months beforehand, which shows that this is all part of a bigger plan on Harry and Meghan’s part. Next, with the rumored new deal with Disney with a voiceover role that will benefit a charity f her choosing, so it seems that there is no end to their celebrity outside of the monarchy.
It was humbling watching a weary Prince Harry summarize the changes. As for Thomas Markle, his comments are the absolute definition of irony. To think that someone who has actually sold stories and intimate details about his daughter to media outlets for a little bit of attention would have the audacity to accuse her of cheapening the monarchy is level of narcissism few can understand. Meghan and Harry are now free to pursue any life they choose, and the public is here for it.
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