So long to the Sussexes? The British Royal Family announced yet another surprising twist to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s transition into the part-time world of working for the firm. On Saturday, January 18, Buckingham Palace announced that the Duke and the Duchess of Sussex will give up their official royal titles, in addition to other benefits of being full-time members of the family.
While Markle and her husband will retain their titles as the Sussexes, they will stop being recognized by their main royal titles as His and Her Royal Highness. The couple will also give up state funding and have agreed to repay a minimum of $3 million in taxpayer money for the renovations that went into their home of Frogmore Cottage at Windsor Castle, where the pair married in a highly-publicized wedding in May 2018.
The deal, which is found to be rather unexpected, was agreed upon why the queen, Prince William, Prince Charles and Harry when they met at Sandringham Estate this week. The official start date of the agreement will be in the spring, two years after Markle joined the family. A year after it goes into effect, the palace will again review it.
“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,” the Queen’s announcement read. “Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family.”
“I [recognize] 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,” she added. “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. It is my whole family’s hope that today’s agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life.”
The Queen publicly first gave her blessing to the pair on Monday, after the couple unexpectedly disclosed in an official announcement 10 days ago that they’re planning to move to North America. They also expressed their desire to stay on as part-time members of arguably the most scrutinized monarchy in the world. Earlier this week, Queen Elizabeth agreed to let the two move “part-time to Canada after [a] ‘constructive’ royal summit.”
She also expressed her preference fo the two to remain full-time royals, but she understands their desire for independence given the difficulties of life in the public eye particularly for Markle in the last two years. “My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family,” Queen Elizabeth shared from Sandringham Estate, her part-time home where the royals met Monday. “Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working members of the royal family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family.”
The Duke and the Duchess of Sussex announced last week that they were stepping down as senior members of the royal family. “After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” the couple declared in their statement. “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 queen once again reiterated the financially independent portion Monday after her meeting. “Harry and Meghan have made clear that they do not want to be reliant on public funds in their new lives,” she said in her statement.
Initial reports indicated much resistance within the family, though Harry met with his grandmother and other family members Monday to work out a solution. Markle flew back to England for the initial announcement, only to return to Canada, where she currently remains in the aftermath of the news.
The pair married in May 2018 at Windsor, where they now reside with their child Archie. However, the couple visited Canada over the holidays and Toronto was Markle’s home up until her move to the U.K. after her wedding. The two have long remained tied to the former Suits star’s home continent of North America.
“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,” they explained of their choice.