Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have made a shocking announcement, stating they will be stepping back as ‘senior members’ of the royal family. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex shared in an Instagram post that they want to become financially independent and raise their son, Archie between the U.K. and North America in 2020. 

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“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. 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. We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages. This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity. 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.” – The Duke and Duchess of Sussex For more information, please visit (link in bio) Image © PA

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So what does this mean? Are they still royals? 

Yes, they are still members of the British royal family. However, since they are stepping back as ‘senior members,’ they will be considered ‘working royals.’ They will keep their titles, citing historical precedents like other royals in the past – Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie. 


Will their last names change? 

There is no confirmation of this yet. However, they might take on their son, Archie’s surname Mountbatten-Windsor. Archie wasn’t given a royal title at birth due to The Letters Patent. 


Where will they live?

On their website, the couple mentioned that they continue living at the Frogmore Cottage while in the UK stating that “their family will always have a place to call home in the United Kingdom.” However, they will require the Queen’s confirmation for the same. 


Will they continue to get money from the crown? 

They will now have the freedom to be financially independent. Under the current structure, the two weren’t allowed to earn an income. Previously, 5% of the couple’s official expenses were paid for by the Sovereign Grant — an annual lump sum from the UK government. The other 95% was received from Harry’s father, Prince Charles, who funds the couple’s personal and professional expenses through his private estate, the Duchy of Cornwall. But there is no confirmation that he will continue to do so. Prince Harry has also inherited millions from his mother, Princess Diana. 


Will they go back to work? How will they earn?

The Sussexes have made it clear in their statement that they will continue working with the charities and patronages that they are involved with and will soon set up The Sussex Royal foundation. They added that they will “continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge, and all relevant parties.” 


Has this been done before? 

A move like this is new. However, royals have given up their title in the past, mostly to marry internationally and move out. Famously, Edward the VIII also gave up the throne because he wanted to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson. 

Reports suggest that this decision wasn’t made in line with the rest of the royal family and that they were quite unaware. In a statement released by Buckingham Palace, they said that the conversation is still at an early stage. 

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