Prince Harry and Princess Meghan will not receive public funds for royal duties and will no longer be referred to as His and Her Royal Highness, Buckingham Palace announced.
On Jan. 8, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex took to Instagram to formally announce their intentions to “step back” as senior members of the Royal Family. They also expressed their plans to become financially independent and balance their time between the United Kingdom and North America.
Royal correspondents revealed that although Prince Harry and Meghan mentioned they wish to continue fully supporting the Queen, they did not consult other members of the royal family about their decision.
Members of the royal family have a lifetime commitment to support the reigning monarch and participate in national duties such as attending official events, involving themselves in charitable work and strengthening national unity.
This unprecedented announcement that has been dubbed “Megxit” by British media platforms, sent shockwaves across the globe, many taking to social media to express either their approval or disapproval of the Sussex’s decision.
“Nothing like this has ever happened before,” said BBC Royal Correspondent Daniela Relph, in an interview with the BBC.
Over the course of their marriage, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have had a fraught relationship with sections of the British media, with multiple tabloids continuously defaming Meghan. Prince Harry likened the “ruthless campaign” against his wife by the U.K. tabloids to that faced by his mother, Princess Diana, who died in a car crash while being chased by paparazzi in 1997.
“It’s not enough just to survive something—you’ve got to thrive. You’ve got to be happy,” said Meghan during an interview with ITV’s Tom Bradby.
In the following days, Buckingham Palace announced in a statement that an arrangement to allow the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to live private lives has been made.
“They are required to step back from royal duties, including official military appointments. They will no longer receive public funds for royal duties,” the statement said.
“Our hope was to continue serving the Queen, the commonwealth, and my military associations, but without public funding. Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible,” said Prince Harry during a speech at a charity event in London.
Prince Harry has emphasized that the decision he and his wife made to step back from royal duties was one they made after months of talks.
According to the Buckingham Palace statement, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will no longer formally represent the Queen and voluntarily gave up their HRH titles—His and Her Royal Highness.
They will continue to reside in the Frogmore Cottage, their place of residence in the United Kingdom, while also spending some time in Canada, where Meghan has close ties. Harry and Meghan intend to repay £2.4 million—$3 million—of taxpayer money that was used to renovate their family home along with a commercial rent. The statement withheld mention of details regarding security arrangements for the couple. This arrangement is effective in the spring of this year.
Queen Elizabeth II issued a statement saying, “Harry, Meghan, and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,” and she hopes that the agreement “allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life.”