“I want you to hear the truth from me, as much as I can share, not as a prince or a duke, but as Harry, the same person that many of you have watched grow up over the last 35 years, but now with a clearer perspective.” – Prince Harry
Perhaps we all know, by now, that prince Harry of Britain has shocked the world with the news of the royal couple’s decision of stepping down from the senior posts of the British Royal family. Never in the history of the British monarchy has anyone witnessed such a bold decision! It was not only shocking to us but also to the queen.
Being a royal is the dream of many. Having a fairy-tale wedding, lavish lifestyle and living in such splendid palaces sounds quite like a dream. But Meghan Markle and Harry have chosen to say ‘goodbye’ to their royal titles. The couple’s wish is to live a ‘progressive’ life; this will lead to their loss of perks, privileges, and titles.
The couple has announced this massive break this month. They are stepping down as the senior royal members; along with that, they are leaving Britain for an uncertain future in Canada and the United States.
Under the terms of the agreement, the couple will give up their royal titles, ‘His Royal Highness’ and ‘Her Royal Highness’; they will give up public funding of their activities; and will repay more than $3 million for the refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, their residence on the grounds of Windsor Castle. According to experts, such trade-offs were unavoidable.
In the words of Penny Junior, a royal biographer, “The arrangement they’ve come to is absolutely spot on…. The family is trying to prevent a half-in, half-out arrangement, which doesn’t work.” But the deal has introduced a lot of unanswered questions, such as tax synthesis of the split, security expenses; and esoteric matters, such as Meghan and Harry’s appearance on the royal balcony in future.
Prince Harry publicly announced his decision with a tone of regret at a charity fund raiser; he addressed his hope to continue some of the royal duties without public funding. But it seems quite an impossible task to accomplish. Harry said, “It brings me great sadness that it has come to this…The decision that I have made for my wife and I to step back is not one I made lightly. It was so many months of talks after so many years of challenges.” Harry also talked about not abandoning his homeland or the queen, but said, “as far as this goes, there really was no other option.”
Harry was also forced to give up the title of Commonwealth Youth Ambassador. The deal is quite complicated, and the official royal site includes a lofty section on the couple’s responsibilities as the queen’s emissaries to the Commonwealth. Perhaps Harry and Meghan would have envisioned a less complicated break from the royal services. The status of the couple’s official website, and that of their Instagram accounts also remains unclear. At present, the website of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex is still there, but there’s no surety about its future presence.
The couple’s moneymaking prospects may face a lot of obstacles as their Sussex Royal title imprinted on all of their charitable contributions would now be lost. But, according to experts, the HRH title records less resonance in the United States than in Britain.
The couple will continue with their Duke and Duchess status as it was bestowed by the queen after they were married in 2018. Harry will hold the status of a prince, sixth in the line of succession, regardless of whether people address him as “Your Royal Highness.”
Royal authorities are impressed by the queen’s generous statement toward Meghan and marked her confession that the couple had been addressing changes in this direction for months. Buckingham palace is now shifting its interest away from the couple’s new journey.
The deal of the couple living alone in North America, and earning money by working in the private sector would be implemented this spring, and reviewed a year later by the palace. Depending on further developments, it may be modified in the future if needed.
Prince Harry had served twice in Afghanistan; he will also have to give up his military titles. He will no more be the captain general of the Royal Marines, a change that could be extremely heart-breaking for him as he had inherited the title from his grandfather Prince Philip. Over the years Harry has been loved as well as acknowledged for his military services.
However, this decision won’t affect Harry’s connection with the Invictus Games, a global sports event for the injured, unwell, and physically affected service members that had been founded by Harry in 2014. Giving up this connection, if he is forced to do so, would be devastating to Harry as he bears a hearty connection with the servicemen.
There’s a big question mark on the couple’s financial independence, as they will have to give up public money earned through Sovereign Grant, the primary fund for financing royal activities. This grant is the source of 5% of their expenses while the remaining 95% expenses are funded from the Duchy of Cornwall, an estate owned by Harry’s father, Prince Charles. According to the royal officials, Prince Charles will keep on supporting the couple financially but he may not do it with the money from the Duchy of Cornwall as he owns the Duchy as the Prince of Wales. For this reason, these funds have been designated as quasi-public.
There’s also some unclear smoke concerning the couple’s security payments that may amount to millions of dollars each year. We have no answers to such questions as Buckingham Palace has kept mum about these arrangements. However, according to security officials, Britain’s Home Office has continued to provide the couple with necessary police protection as they are very popular public figures.
One of the things that could have played a huge role in pushing the couple to undertake such a bold decision is that of tabloids. This view has been supported by a headline in the New York Times’s that read “Prince Harry Goes to Battle with Tabloids, Rupturing an Old Relationship”. Prince Harry is extremely angry and devastated by the British news media, particularly tabloids. He solely blames paparazzi for her mother Diana’s death, and does not want his family to face the same problems again. Meghan has gone on to file a lawsuit against The Mail on Sunday after their publishing a confidential letter without Meghan’s consent. The letter had been sent by Meghan to her father. Harry has also filed separate lawsuits against the owners of The Sun and The Daily Mirror. They have been accused of hacking his phone’s voice mail messages, and recording everything as far as the early 2000s. Trying to somehow deal with such severe encroachments, the couple has also made it clear that they will not take part in the Royal Rota; the press pool that captures every royal affair will not get their share of this royal couple anymore.
In the midst of all these developments, it would be quite interesting to see which way the relationship between the royal couple and the press develops; royal fanatics are expected to keep their eyes glued to media to find out more!