Meghan Markle's Life-Changing Decisions That Rocked the Royals in 2020

Diane Clehane
·8 min read

When Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry announced they were stepping down as senior royals, it was only the first of many shock waves the Sussexes would set off inside the House of Windsor in 2020. Throughout this year, Meghan has managed to raise more royal eyebrows than she ever did while living in Britain as a working member of the family. In 2020, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have continued to assert their independence while creating their own royal brand outside the family, causing major discussions within the Palace in the process.

"Meghan is clearly in charge of all this. Hollywood deal-making is new territory for the duke, but it's always been Meghan's dream and she's succeeding beyond everyone's expectations," a source told Best Life. "She has the full support of her husband and has made some powerful friendships since returning to California. She played her hand well and as a result, the royals have had a great deal of issues to contend with."

Immediately after the news of the couple's plan to relinquish their roles as senior royals was announced in January, a Palace insider told Best Life the immediate reaction in the Palace was one of shock and dismay. At the time, our source said the couple's intent to "live like jet-setting celebrities instead of royals" will undoubtedly prove quite lucrative outside of the United Kingdom. But within Britain, it's more fodder for their detractors and puts Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles in a "very difficult situation" that could raise questions about the future of the monarchy.

Here's a look at all the times Meghan took charge and showed the royals she ruled over her family's future in 2020. And for more on Meghan and Harry's plan for the upcoming year, check out The One Thing Meghan and Harry Are Really Looking Forward to in 2021.

Read the original article on Best Life.

When she and Harry inked their multi-million dollar Netflix deal

Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke en Duchess of Sussex, arrive in Dublin, on the 1st of a 2 days visit to Dublin, 2018
Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke en Duchess of Sussex, arrive in Dublin, on the 1st of a 2 days visit to Dublin, 2018

This summer, just a few months after settling into their California home, Harry and Meghan found the perfect platform to leverage their international star power and inked a landmark deal with Netflix, reported to be worth more than £112 million (or $153 million). According to their spokesperson, Harry and Meghan will produce a range of programs for Netflix, including docuseries, scripted shows, children's programming, and feature films. Meghan's representative also said the former Suits star has no plans to return to acting.

According to various outlets, including The Sun, the couple did not alert or discuss their Netflix deal withe the Palace prior to the official announcement. A source told the outlet: "Her Majesty is all too aware of the pitfalls of when senior royals embark on lucrative projects—Prince Edwards' production flop and some of the deals Sarah Ferguson has signed over the years, to name a few."

Netflix is also home to the mega-hit series The Crown, which has caused "a great deal of hurt within the Royal Family because of the damning portrait of Prince Charles," a Palace insider told Best Life. "There is some consternation that Meghan and Harry are profiting from an entity that has depicted the Royal Family quite unfairly. When the official exit agreement comes up for review, that is sure to be discussed. Her Majesty believes the royals are not for sale and royals assuming high profile roles outside of the institution can damage the institution itself." And for more on what bothers Her Majesty about The Crown, check out The Queen Could Be Upset About This Actor Playing Prince Charles.

When she and Harry announced their Spotify deal with a flirty video

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during a visit to South Bondi Beach in Sydney, on the fourth day of the royal couple's visit to Australia.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during a visit to South Bondi Beach in Sydney, on the fourth day of the royal couple's visit to Australia.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex stunned with the announcement in December that their production company, Archewell Audio, is partnering with Spotify for a new podcast in a multi-year deal estimated to be worth £18 million ($24.5 million). Harry and Meghan will co-host the podcast, which will feature conversations with a variety of different voices.

As has been the case with their other media deals, Meghan and Harry kept their Spotify deal under wraps. The public—and the Royal Family—learned of their new podcast from the trailer on the Spotify's website. The video, posted in mid-December, featued a playful duke and duchess promoting their latest venture, with Meghan encouraging Harry to speak first became the message "sounds better with [his] accent."

"Coming on the heels of the surprise Netflix deal, there was some disappointment that once again there was no discussion with the Queen or Prince Charles about this," said an insider. "This is sure to be scrutinized by the Palace in light of the scope of the project." And for more on where the Sussexes stand, check out Harry and Meghan Signal They May Be Ready to Give Up Their Royal Titles.

When she and Harry encouraged Americans to vote in the presidential election

prince harry and meghan markle advocate for voting in time 100
prince harry and meghan markle advocate for voting in time 100

In September, the duke and duchess came under fire for appearing in a Time 100 video where they encouraged Americans to vote in the 2020 presidential election. Without mentioning a specific candidate, Harry—who said, "I've never been able to vote in the U.K. my entire life"—urged voters to "reject hate speech, misinformation, and online negativity." Meghan added that the 2020 presidential race is the "most important election of our lifetime."

Soon thereafter, Meghan and Harry were criticized in the U.K. for their alleged break of protocol. They touched off a torrent of editorials in Britain for going against the longstanding practice upheld by Queen Elizabeth that she and her family remain politically neutral at all times.

The royals were left with a conundrum. With the huge amounts of social change and political upheaval around the world this year, Meghan and Harry's actions set off a debate about whether the rest of the family can maintain a neutral stance on important issues and still remain relevant. And for more on this, check out Why the Royal Family May Not Stay Politically Neutral in the Future.

When it was reported Meghan has plans to write a novel

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during a reception for young people at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, in Edinburgh, during their visit to Scotland.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during a reception for young people at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, in Edinburgh, during their visit to Scotland.

According to The Mail on Sunday, an insider claims the Duchess of Sussex wants to try her hand at writing fiction. The outlet reported just after Christmas that Meghan is in the process of securing legal protection to allow her to publish books through the couple's non-profit, Archewell.

"Fiction is something she has always wanted to try her hand at, and she could be assured that anything she writes would sell well, regardless of its quality," an insider told The Mail on Sunday. "Fiction, be it children's books or adult, would be a powerful way of conveying [her] messages."

In April 2019, Best Life reported exclusively that Meghan had plans to write children's books, which seems more than likely now that she's the mother of a toddler and given the extent of her media deals. When asked by an interviewer in 2015, "If your life was a children's book, what would the title be?" Meghan broke into a big smile and immediately answered, "The Glorious Adventures of Freckle-Faced Meg."

Rumors that she (and Harry) would publish a tell-all on the Royal Family have been circulating since the beginning of the year, but seem highly unlikely, according to Palace sources. "That would surely close the door on any type of relationship with the Royal Family forever," an insider told Best Life. "That is not going to happen." And for more regular royals updates, sign up for our daily newsletter.

When they introduced Archie on the their inaugural podcast

meghan markle and baby archie
meghan markle and baby archie

From the very start, Meghan and Harry have kept Archie out of the spotlight. Save for their Christmas cards and that adorable shot of the tot with his father while in Canada, we've seen little of the Queen's youngest great-grandson. While Prince William and Duchess Kate have always carefully controlled their childrens' public appearances, they have never shied away from offering the public a peak at their precious brood when the occasion called for it.

In May, we got a rare glimpse of Archie, when the duke and duchess teamed up with Save the Children to mark Archie's first birthday. In a video posted online—and filmed by Harry—Meghan read to their son from Duck! Rabbit! and encouraged fans to donate to a number of causes close to the Sussexes' hearts.

But earlier this month, the couple delighted fans when the 19-month-old made his debut on the "Holiday Special" of the couple's new podcast. The very happy toddler was encouraged by his parents to deliver a special message. After some prompting from his mom, Archie said the word "fun" and repeated after Harry to say "happy" and "new" and then proudly added the word "year" on his own, delighting his parents while he let out an adorable giggle.

"It was a sweet way of letting the public get a glimpse of how Archie is growing without exposing him to the cameras. Meghan and Harry are raising their son very differently than other royal children," said a source. "Hearing his voice on the podcast was a reminder of how little the Royal Family has been a part of Archie's life thus far. It's very bittersweet." And for more on Archie's relationship with the royals, check out The Queen's "Greatest Regret" Over Megxit Is Not Seeing Archie.

Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.