The Decision To Leave
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, announced that they would be transitioning out of their roles as "senior" royals and splitting their time between the UK and North America. They said on their personal website:
"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."
While no one is quite sure yet what their new roles will look like, the popular couple is eager to carve out a new life for themselves and their young son, Archie.
Smoothing It Over With The Family
While the Queen initially expressed displeasure and released a statement saying she was "disappointed," a family summit on Monday seemed to smooth things over with Her Majesty. She released a second statement saying:
"Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family. My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family. 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.
Harry and Meghan have made clear that they do not want to be reliant on public funds in their new lives. It has therefore been agreed that there will be a period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the UK. These are complex matters for my family to resolve, and there is some more work to be done, but I have asked for final decisions to be reached in the coming days."
Meghan Did Not Call In
The Queen, Prince Charles, and Prince Harry had a lengthy meeting at Sandringham to discuss what was to be done, and while it was previously reported that Meghan would be phoning in from Canada, she ended up not taking part in the "highly confidential family discussion, not a conference call.".
Royal correspondent Emily Andrews tweeted:
"So we’ve now had some clarification from the palace. They said: “In the end, The Sussexes decided that it wasn’t necessary for The Duchess to join [the summit].” But we understand Harry was in contact with his wife while at Sandringham, to keep her in the loop."
Making Major Moves
You can't really blame Meghan and Harry for working to separate themselves from the Royals. Ever since their marriage (and even before), the press has been absolutely brutal in the coverage of Meghan.
It is still unclear what exactly the couple will be doing to financially support themselves, but Meghan signed a deal with Disney to do voiceover work, with the proceeds going to the charity Elephants Without Borders. Could more television or film production be in the couple's future? We'll just have to wait and see.