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Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, are stepping back from all royal duties, Buckingham Palace announced yesterday evening. The announcement comes after a request by Harry and Meghan for a “progressive new role” where they would be able to work and earn a living and be able to spend more time privately as a family away from the royal fishbowl.
The agreement thrashed out means they will “no longer receive public funds” and have agreed to no longer use their HRH titles (His and Her Royal Highness).
“The Sussexes will not use their HRH titles as they are no longer working members of the royal family,” according to a statement by Buckingham Palace. They will be known as Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, in the future.
“The discussions were all extremely friendly and constructive because the common goal was clear as was the desire to reach a successful conclusion. Everyone is pleased,” a source shared.
Three of Prince Harry’s military roles will end, as will his role as Commonwealth Youth Ambassador, but they will retain their ties to their other private charities and patronages including as President and Vice President of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust. There is no plan for any future Royal Tours as the couple “steps back” from their role representing Her Majesty.
Several questions remain unanswered. It remains unclear what will happen to the title of the couple’s website Sussex Royal, given their step back from their role as working royals. The Sussexes posted the following on their website after the statement issued by the Queen: “In line with the statement by Her Majesty The Queen, information on the roles and work of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be updated on this website in due course. We appreciate your patience and invite you to explore the site to see the current work of Their Royal Highnesses.”
Also still being negotiated is the couple’s security arrangements. While the Palace never comments on protection matters, discussions continue on who will fund the safety of Harry and Meghan, whether the Met Police, Canadian Government, Prince Charles privately, or the Sussexes will each contribute.
Prince Charles will continue to offer “private financial support” for his son and daughter-in-law, although they will no longer take public funding from the Sovereign Grant as they carve out their new path.
Prince Harry may attend additional meetings Monday while details are still being worked out before he returns to Archie and Meghan in Canada and is expected to attend an Africa UK Investment Summit in London on Monday.
At the heart of the negotiations this last week were financial matters and how their role as private citizens able to earn a living might work. ELLE has learned that the Duke and Duchess will be able to pursue work and projects that appeal to them. “They currently have no commercial agreements already signed or in the pipeline. The spirit of this agreement allows them to pursue financial independence but they’ve made it clear everything they do will continue to uphold the values of her Majesty.”
Many of the specifics still need to be ironed out, but the blueprint for the Sussexes’ future life is now laid out. A source shared, “There will be a period of transition before some of the finer details are worked out.”
Her Majesty the Queen, Prince Charles, and Prince William all engaged in constructive dialogue in order to come to an agreement that would make Meghan and Harry happy after the enormous scrutiny they have faced by the public this last year. ELLE has learned that a review will be taken in 2021 to see how the arrangement is working: “There is scope for the family to review how it operates in a year’s time.”
The couple will still enjoy family events and their attendance at ceremonial events like Trooping the Colour—the Queen’s official birthday—remain possible with a source sharing the Duke and Duchess will “happily attend royal family events at the invitation of Her Majesty.”
The Sussexes will spend the majority of their time in North America now and the remainder in the UK at Frogmore Cottage, which they will retain as their UK base. The couple will in the future pay a “commercial rent” for Frogmore Cottage and pay for the “running costs,” upkeep, and maintenance of their home.
ELLE understands that the couple may ultimately also have a base in the United States where Meghan’s mother lives and is home for Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.
Meghan and Harry are committed to fulfilling their humanitarian and charitable goals around the world. Earlier this week, Meghan attended two private engagements in keeping with her interest in promoting female empowerment. She visited Justice for Girls, a climate change initiative, and Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, a shelter which aides some of the poorest and most vulnerable women in the greater Vancouver area.
On Thursday, Meghan looked happy welcoming her dear friend Heather Dorak, who owns a Pilates chain, at the Victoria airport. A resident of Los Angeles, Heather and Meghan could be seen warmly hugging. A stream of Meghan’s friends have rallied to the couple’s side as they make the transition to their new life, including Jessica Mulroney, who watched over Archie in Canada with their nanny last week when the couple returned to London to announce their exit plan.
The statement today capped 10 days of uncertainty surrounding Harry and Meghan’s future path within the Firm. Queen Elizabeth’s statement yesterday thanking the Sussexes for their “dedicated work” was unambiguous in her support for her beloved grandson: “Harry, Meghan, and Archie will always be much loved members of my family.”
Her Majesty also praised Meghan, saying she was “particularly proud of how Meghan has so quickly become one of the family.”
The family had finally come to an agreement that met the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s goal to lead a more private life away from the spotlight.
A member of the family shared with ELLE, “Everyone ultimately just wants Harry and Meghan to be happy.”