Breaking news: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be stepping back from their royal duties and splitting their time between the UK and North America going forward, per their Instagram announcement today. This shocking revelation will have ripple effects through the whole royal family — so let’s break down exactly what the Sussex royals’ plan is.
On Wednesday, the Sussex Royal Instagram account posted this: “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.”
“We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America,” the post continues, “continuing to honor 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.”
Okay! Lots to unpack here. First of all, it seems that the arrival of baby Archie has played a big role in their making this decision. Maybe after Meghan’s time in the spotlight as part of the royal family, she’s decided she doesn’t want to raise her son under that level of scrutiny — just a guess.
Good for Meghan and Harry opting out of the UK tabloids staggering racism and the lack of support from the royal family. They will be fine.
— roxane gay (@rgay) January 8, 2020
As for their decision to step back as “senior” members of the royal family: Will that mean Harry and Meghan lose their titles? Since they’re seeking to become financially independent, we’re guessing they’re planning to move out of any properties owned by the Queen, like their current residence Frogmore Cottage.
Speaking of the Queen — Queen Elizabeth II has now weighed in on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to step back from their royal duties, announced earlier today via Instagram. The Queen’s office released this official statement just a few hours after the Sussex duo shared on social media: “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.”
Complicated issues, indeed! We’ll be waiting here with popcorn while this drama unfolds.
Tom Bradby, the journalist behind Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, has further speculation to share: He thinks the couple may be headed for Canada. “I think the truth is there is a lot going on, a lot going on within the royal family and, I don’t know, and I don’t think they know what their future is going to be and what their position is going to be,” Bradby told Good Morning Britain. “It’s no big secret in their friends that they have been considering their options in the future…I think there’s a lot of talking to be done, there are a million possibilities, they could go to Canada.”
Another source repeated that suspicion to The Sun: “It is clear they are on a different and unique path, and they are very much thinking about what the future looks like for them…That could include being based in Canada or the possibility of walking away from their HRH titles.”
So, will Meghan and Harry split their time between a flat in London and a house in Canada (maybe with Meghan’s mom, Doria Ragland)? Only time will tell — but this huge announcement means 2020 is looking very different for the Sussex royals than we expected.
This article was updated on Jan. 8, 2020, at 4:30 p.m. ET to include the Queen’s comments.