Update, January 13th, 2020, 12:40 p.m. ET: The queen has officially followed up on Buckingham Palace’s first, very brief response to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle‘s announcement that they’d be stepping down as “senior” members of the royal family. This time, the statement is much more supportive, though it still seems clear that the move wouldn’t have been the queen’s first choice.
“Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family,” the statement began, according to The Guardian. The discussions—what has come to be called the Sandringham summit—reportedly took place between Queen Elizabeth, Prince Harry, Prince William, and Prince Charles, with Markle calling in from Canada.
The statement continues:
The queen also reiterates Harry and Meghan’s wish to become financially independent, though it’s not detailed exactly what that would mean. She also says that there will be a “period of transition” before they fully step down, and that the couple plan to split time between England and Canada. Notably, she doesn’t say “North America,” as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex originally stated.
The statement ends with the queen writing, “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.”
Final decisions? Is this still not “final”? Looks like there’s still much more to be worked out, if the queen has anything to say about it.
Update, January 9th, 2020, 10:05 a.m.: If somehow you missed the “break the internet” news, yesterday, January 8th, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced they were stepping back as “senior” members of the royal family and were working to become financially independent. And it seems we’re not the only ones reeling from the news, because the Crown released its own statement hours later, and it was, well, terse.
The entirety of the statement—which was unsigned but under a Royal Communications letterhead—was two lines. The queen’s official position? “It’s complicated.”
Buckingham Palace have sent their own statement out, adding that discussions with the couple are at “an early stage.” pic.twitter.com/aCXyEMQuW8— Omid Scobie (@scobie) January 8, 2020
It seems we’re only at the beginning of the royal drama as Harry and Meghan try to forge a new path for their own little family.
Original post, January 8th, 2020: This afternoon, Wednesday, January 8th, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, announced via Instagram that they will be taking a step back from their royal duties in 2020. From here on out, they will split their time evenly between the United Kingdom and North America, and begin taking the steps necessary to financially separate themselves from the royal family.
Because of the support they’ve garnered from the public, the duke and duchess say they feel ready to make the transition into new life.
Stepping back as “senior members” of the royal family means that Harry and Meghan will no longer receive U.K. taxpayer funds, as is commonplace for royal family members. According to the official Sussex Royal website, the pair now consider themselves “members of the Royal Family with financial independence.”
The site explains that the duke and duchess plan to “earn a professional income,” which is prohibited within the traditional royal family structure.
However, they will continue to “carry out works for The Monarch…as called upon.”
As this story continues to develop, we’ll be sure to update you with what the future looks like for Harry and Meghan. We respect their decision to financially depart from their royal roots (which you can learn more about at SussexRoyal.com/funding) and are anxious to see what charitable events they have planned for the year ahead and beyond.