An agreement has been reached that will see Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, stop using their royal titles, forego state funding, and repay taxpayer money used to refurbish their official residence in Windsor.
Buckingham Palace made the announcement today, the culmination of negotiations that started when the couple announced plans to step back from their official duties and live in North America.
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Under the deal, the couple will spend the majority of their time in North America and can earn money in the private sector, with the stipulation that such deals would “uphold the values of Her Majesty.” Part of that stipulates that the couple will no longer formally represent the Queen.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will repay US $3.1 million (£2.4m) of British taxpayer money for the refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage. It will, however, remain their UK family home.
The agreement takes effect later in the spring and will be reviewed in a year, although what enforcement could be enacted if the deal fell short of its goals was unclear.
The unique deal still has issues that need to be determined, including security and whether the couple will still get money from Harry’s father, Prince Charles, through his income from the Duchy of Cornwall. There are also questions about what types of private enterprises will fit with the royal family’s image.
The couple’s tax and immigration status in the UK and Canada is also in question, as is whether Meghan Markle still intended to gain British citizenship. That would entail her spending a certain amount of time in the UK.
The statement from the Queen said that after “many months of conversations and more recent discussions,” she was “pleased that together we have found a constructive and supportive way forward for my grandson and his family.”
“Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much-loved members of my family,” the statement said. “I recognise the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life. I want to thank them for all their dedicated work across this country, the Commonwealth and beyond, and am particularly proud of how Meghan has so quickly become one of the family. It is my whole family’s hope that today’s agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life.”
Buckingham Palace also said Prince Harry and Meghan understood they were required to step back from royal duties, including official military appointments. However, they will continue to maintain their private patronages and associations.
“While they can no longer formally represent the Queen, the Sussexes have made clear that everything they do will continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty,” the Palace statement said.
The Palace also said it would not comment on security arrangements.
Prince Harry made a public appearance on Thursday at a draw for the Rugby League World Cup at Buckingham Palace. His wife is in Canada and made an appearance at a women’s shelter there.
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