Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have announced they will be stepping down as “senior” members of the royal family.
The couple made the shock revelation both on their new website and on Instagram, explaining how they would be splitting their time between the U.K. and North America.
They also mentioned that they intend to become “financially independent,” but questions were asked as to what — if anything — British taxpayers will be contributing.
So, what’s next for the couple?
Royal expert Omid Scobie suspects that “2020 will look almost the same as it did before the news broke.”
“The focus is very much going to be on Harry and Meghan launching the Sussex Royal Foundation; they’ve made it very clear on their new website that that has major global aspirations.”
The pair’s charitable initiatives take up a large portion of their new website, which details their plans to “shape their charitable entity to respond to these pressing needs.”
They’ve been working on what has been described as a “charitable entity” for some time, with an overall aim to “advance the solutions the world needs most.”
How will the “part-time” role work within the royal family?
Although they’re not the first royals to take a step back from their duties, it remains to be seen exactly how they’ll navigate what they’ve described as a “new working model.”
There has been no mention so far about what the royal protocol will be — for example, whether they will they have to remain neutral on global issues.
They have also trademarked over 100 Sussex Royal goods and services.
This covers social care services like counseling and teaching materials, but also extends to clothing and printed materials. This could suggest a step into a clothing line, merchandise or a book/magazine.
Where will they live?
They will split their time between North America - most likely Canada, or California, where Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, lives — and the U.K. They will continue to live at Frogmore Cottage while in the U.K.
The queen maintains the upkeep of Frogmore Cottage as part of the monarch’s responsibility to maintain buildings of historical significance.
Meghan and Harry will continue to foot the bill for fixtures, furnishings and fittings as they have done previously, but there’s no mention as of yet whether they will be required to give any extra money to the queen by way of “rent.”
What will they do for jobs?
There has been public speculation that Meghan Markle might return to acting or running her lifestyle blog, The Tig, but this hasn’t been addressed by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who remain resolute in their bid to launch their charity.
“This is a couple who want to change the world and do it in a way and speed that members of the royal family don’t necessarily work,” Scobie continued.
“They sense an urgency for some of the issues that they get engaged with, they’re going to focus on that this year,” he added. “There won’t be so much in terms of traditional royal work. I don’t think we will see Harry and Meghan taking on new patronages.
“But I think they will still go ahead and do a royal route at the request of the foreign office in the name of Her Majesty, and that’s where we’ll see them toe the line between [being] working royals and privately funded officials.”
Prince Harry is currently sixth in line to the throne behind Prince Charles and Prince William and his children George, Charlotte and Louis, and will continue to hold that position.
What does the rest of the royal family think about their decision?
Buckingham Palace responded with a statement that they “understand” the couple’s decision but “these are complicated issues which will take time to work through.”
Duncan Larcombe, a royal author and commentator, speculated that the queen will be “perplexed” by their decision.
“If you ask the queen this morning what this means and how it will work, I think she’ll look just as perplexed as everybody else,” he told Yahoo U.K.
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