On Wednesday, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle shocked the world by announcing their plans to step back as senior members of the royal family. By doing so the Duke and Duchess of Sussex may be giving up more than you’d expect.
“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,” the couple announced in an Instagram post. “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.”
According to the couple, they plan to split their time between the United Kingdom and North America to continue to “honor our duty to The Queen.” But the split will also provide them with more normalcy and balance for their son.
The couple added, “We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.”
However, they don’t get to just walk out the door scot-free. Here’s everything Prince Harry and Meghan may be giving up in the process.
The Couple May Lose Their Titles
Harry Could Lose His Place in Line for the Throne
Though Harry is now rather far away from ever taking over as King of England (he’s currently sixth in line), he will likely now have to give up any chance at all.
“A voluntary renunciation of royal duties means they’d almost certainly have to give up claims to the throne for Harry and his descendants, including son Archie — one can’t be completely non-royal and at the same time remain a few heartbeats from the throne,” Maclean’s added.
Harry and Meghan May Be Cut Off From Tax-payer Support
The British Royal Family makes plenty of its own money, however, the family does receive a solid chunk of change each year from the public thanks to the Sovereign Grant. That grant, the official website for the Royal Family explained, comes from a percentage of the profits of the Crown Estate revenue.
From 2017 to 2018 the Royal Family was given about $100 million to continue their official duties, like attending events and going on royal tours. The fund is also used to maintain royal palaces, which are open to the public, as well as to pay staffing costs. It also pays for the royal family’s official travels, including both the tours of the South Pacific and Africa that Meghan and Harry took in 2018 and 2019. It even helped partially cover the cost of Prince Harry and Meghan’s lavish royal wedding.
However, if the couple is stepping back from making any official appearances or taking any trips in the name of the monarchy they will no longer receive any of the public funds to do so. That said, People reported that Prince Andrew, who is also “stepping back” from royal life, will still continue to receive private funds from the Queen, which may also be the case for Meghan and Harry.
That said, the couple insinuated they wanted to be financially independent anyway so they may consider this a good thing.
They May Have to Pay Rent for Frogmore Cottage
Several other private members of the royal family still live on royal grounds. Both Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice currently pay rent to live on royal land as they are not considered full-time royals, which may soon be the case for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, too.
Prince Harry and Meghan May Actually Lose More of Their Precious Privacy
The couple has long had a tumultuous relationship with the global press. However, in the United Kingdom, it’s an unspoken rule that the British press does not take or publish unofficial photos of the royals or their children. But, once Harry and Meghan step back from official royal duties there’s no telling what the paparazzi may consider appropriate.
As Maclean’s added, “Renouncing their positions as senior royals is not an experiment or a trial separation. If Prince Harry and Meghan decide to abandon their Windsor ways, then they do so knowing that their decision, once made, can’t be undone.”