Initially, Queen Elizabeth came out as supportive of Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle’s shocking decision to “step back” from their royal duties. However, after an emergency meeting of the Royal Family, the Queen still decided to strip Harry and Meghan of their royal titles. Here’s what the next few months will have in store for the former Duke and Duchess of Sussex…
The Queen’s Emergency Meeting
Just in case you’ve completely missed out on the news: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced they planned on “stepping back from their royal duties” to lead a quieter life. They also want to become “financially independent,” something traditionally forbidden for members of the royal family.
In response, at the start of this week, Queen Elizabeth summoned an “emergency meeting” at the palace. At the meeting, they planned to determine Harry and Meghan’s next steps and their place in the Royal Family. After lengthy deliberations, the Queen came out with a supportive, yet unequivocal, answer to her grandson and his wife. While they could leave the Royal Family, they would also need to lose their royal titles…
Harry: No Longer A Prince?
The Queen’s statement, shared on the Royal website, started off supportive: “I am pleased that together we have found a constructive and supportive way forward for my grandson and his family. Harry, Meghan, and Archie will always be much loved members of my family. I recognize the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life…”
“I want to thank them for all their dedicated work across this country…and am particularly proud of how Meghan has so quickly become one of the family…It is my whole family’s hope that today’s agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life.”
However, the statement also made it very clear that Meghan and Harry’s lives would change drastically, moving forward. The biggest change? “They will no longer receive public funds for royal duties.” Meanwhile, the statement also shared that Harry and Meghan will have to pay back £2.4 million of taxpayers’ money (approx. $3.1 million) for the renovation of their UK home, Frogmore Cottage.
Perhaps most importantly, the Queen will strip Harry and Meghan of some of their royal titles. The couple will no longer use the royal titles His and Her Majesty “as they are no longer working members of the Royal Family.” They will, however, keep their Duke and Duchess titles. It’s currently unclear if Harry will need to drop his Prince title. So far, the Palace has not released a definitive answer, and experts prefer not to speculate. If Harry will remain sixth in line for the throne, even if he loses his Prince title. Interestingly, the only way for Harry to be removed from the line of succession is by an act of the UK Parliament.
Reaction to Losing Royal Titles
On the bright side, The Duke and Duchess will continue to keep their private patronages, like The Rugby Football League, which is “delighted” to keep Harry as its patron. The two also work with many other causes and organizations around the world, like the Rhino Conservation Botswana.
Still, Prince Harry does not feel incredibly pleased with the Queen’s decision. At a speech for the charity Sentebale in London, Harry expressed “great sadness” at his grandmother’s choice. “Our hope was to continue serving the Queen, the commonwealth, and my military associations, but without public funding,” Harry said. “Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible.” Afterward, Harry uploaded the speech to the Sussex Instagram account.
While Prince Harry and Meghan Markle may not be happy with the decision, at least one has been reached. Now, royal fans will need to wait and see how everything turns out!