Harry and Meghan ‘step back’ from their royal role

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In this file photo Britain's Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle arrive at Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh, Scotland. In a stunning declaration, Britain's Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, said they are planning "to step back" as senior members of the royal family and "work to become financially independent." A statement issued by the couple Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020 also said they intend to "balance" their time between the U.K. and North America. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

In this file photo Britain’s Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle arrive at Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh, Scotland. In a stunning declaration, Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, said they are planning “to step back” as senior members of the royal family and “work to become financially independent.” A statement issued by the couple Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020 also said they intend to “balance” their time between the U.K. and North America. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

Tabloids and newspapers across the U.K. carried the same essential headline Thursday, Jan. 9: Harry and Meghan quit the royal family. 

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“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. 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. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. 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. We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.” – The Duke and Duchess of Sussex For more information, please visit sussexroyal.com (link in bio) Image © PA

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The shocking news and a fuller explanation was released by the couple Wednesday Jan. 8  in a post on Instagram. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex stated that they want to relinquish some of their duties and privileges as members of the royal family. In their own words, they 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 statement sent the country into a flutter as Brits questioned what it meant for Meghan and Harry’s lifestyle as well as the monarchy itself. 

The rest of the royal family heard of the couple’s plans at the same time as the rest of the world: Harry and Meghan did not consult the Queen, Prince Charles, Prince William or anyone else before issuing their statement.  

A short statement from Buckingham Palace said simply “Discussions with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage. We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.”

According to British media, the rest of the royal family is hurt and disappointed that they were not consulted before Harry and Meghan’s statement was issued.

Amidst all the confusion over how the couple’s plans will actually work out, fans of Meghan and Harry are celebrating them, applauding the Duke and Duchess for choosing to live their life their own way.

Meanwhile, some others are questioning the couple’s choices. Many are now asking who is paying for their luxurious lifestyle, their trips around the world and their security detail while they work to become financially independent. Some have suggested the couple wants to have their cake and eat it too, calling them entitled and saying that they lack self-awareness. 

Many are wondering what this reduced role will look like and how Meghan and Harry’s relationship to the rest of the royal family might change. Already some are speculating that there is a rift between William and Harry, the royal brothers who were usually so close. 

In their statement, Harry and Meghan also say that they plan to split their time between the U.K. and North America in order to raise their son Archie with an appreciation for the tradition he was born into as well as the space to write the next chapter of their lives. 

The couple says that this decision comes after “many months of reflection and internal discussions,” and people have interpreted their plans as a reaction to their current lifestyle. It is well-known that Harry and Meghan dislike the aggressive British press and the pressure they face to live up to a certain standard. They do, however, enjoy their charitable work and plan to continue it in the future. 

No matter what the royal couple’s reduced role might look like in the future, there’s no doubt that all eyes will be on them during their transition. 


Stephanie Santillo is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at stephanie.santillo@uconn.edu.  

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