Harry and Meghan Markle, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, shocked the world last week when they announced their plan to step away from royal duties and work to become financially independent.
On Saturday, Queen Elizabeth II pulled the trigger on the exiting royals, announcing that the couple will have their “His Royal Highness and Her Royal Highness” titles stripped, as well as be financially cut off from royal funds, effective this spring.
“Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,” the Queen said in a statement, adding that she “support[s] 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 so quickly become one of the family,” the statement continued.
The Queen concluded, “It is my whole family’s hope that today’s agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life.”
BREAKING: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are no longer "working members" of the royal family, according to Buckingham Palace.
— ABC News (@ABC) 18 January 2020
ABC News royal consultant Alastair Bruce called the change “seismic,” noting that Harry has effectively abdicated his position.
“He was given the opportunity to serve as a member of the royal family but he has essentially abdicated from that and it’s all been put into abeyance,” said Bruce.
Harry and Meghan will no longer be allowed to “travel on behalf of the queen, will not receive any public money, and will not appear in the court circular,” according to the royal consultant.
The Associated Press reported Saturday that “the new arrangement will represent an almost complete break from life as working royals, especially for Harry. As a devoted Army veteran and servant to the crown, the prince carried out dozens of royal engagements.”
“Prince Harry is losing his military titles and patronages including Captain General Royal Marines, Honorary Air Commandant Royal Air Force Honington and Small Ships and Diving, Royal Naval Command: Commodore in Chief,” ABC News noted. “He will also no longer be a Commonwealth Youth Ambassador. Harry and Meghan will keep their roles at the Queen’s Commonwealth Truth – Harry serves as president and Meghan is vice-president.”
According to a statement issued by the palace, Harry and Meghan will “repay Sovereign Grant expenditure for the refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, which will remain their UK family home.”
It’s unclear who will now foot the bill for Harry and Meghan’s security.
“There are well established independent processes to determine the need for publicly funded security,” Buckingham Palace said.
“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,” the couple announced earlier this month.
“It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment,” Harry and Meghan said. “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.”
Author: Amanda Prestigiacomo