Harry and Meghan cast out
Duke and Duchess will no longer use HRH titles after quitting royal duties Prince loses military roles and must repay £2.4m spent on Frogmore Cottage They will always be much loved members of my family, says Queen
THE Duke and Duchess of Sussex will no longer use their HRH titles or formally represent the Queen, Buckingham Palace announced last night, as the Royal family severed all official ties with the couple.
A seismic statement following days of frantic negotiations revealed that their departure from public life would be much more complete than was previously thought.
The couple will repay the £2.4million of taxpayers’ money used to refurbish Frogmore Cottage, their Windsor home, and will pay commercial rent on the property, which they will continue to use as their UK base, it was confirmed after five days of talks.
As they will no longer be working members of the Royal family, the Sussexes will not receive public funds for royal duties and the Duke has been forced to give up his much-cherished military patronages, including his rank as captain general of the Royal Marines.
Aides disclosed that the couple would spend most of their time in North America and would be free to earn their own money.
Royal sources also admitted that the couple, who will be styled Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, may have to give up their Sussex Royal branding – used extensively on social media and their new website and which remains an issue “yet to be ironed out”.
A statement released by Buckingham Palace at 6.30pm yesterday laid bare the magnitude of their split from the House of Windsor, making clear that they were not being allowed to adopt the “half-in, half-out” approach they had wanted on announcing their intention to “step back” as senior members of the Royal family.
An update on the couple’s website last night appeared to acknowledge that the intentions they had declared as fact some 10 days ago would now have to be amended. It said that “information on the roles and work of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex” would be updated in due course.
The Queen last night expressed her relief that an agreement had been reached. “I am pleased that we have found a constructive and supportive way forward for my grandson and his family,” she said. “Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family. I recognise 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.”
The Queen said she was “particularly proud” of how the Duchess had so quickly become a part of the family. Her Majesty had made it clear she wanted the issue dealt with “at pace” – within days rather than weeks – and was keen to ensure the furore did not overshadow royal duties.
The decisions about their future were reached after five days of talks involving senior aides working on behalf of the Queen, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Sources insisted that the negotiations had been
“extremely friendly and constructive” with a “clear common goal” and that all sides were “pleased” with the outcome.
The statement released by Buckingham Palace said that “with the Queen’s blessing” the Sussexes would continue to maintain their private patronages and associations.
Aides refused to be drawn on security arrangements for the couple, adding: “There are well established independent processes to determine the need for publicly-funded security.”
The couple will still receive “private financial support” from the Prince of Wales, although sources suggested that this would not necessarily be funding derived from his Duchy of Cornwall estate. Aides representing all senior royals involved in the negotiations will review the new arrangements in a year’s time, giving both sides an opportunity to make changes to the historic deal. It is understood that this will involve the Queen,
‘I am pleased we have found a constructive and supportive way forward for my grandson and his family’
Prince Charles, William and Harry. As they will no longer represent the Queen, the Sussexes are not expected to undertake any more royal tours or appear at official royal engagements but they will happily attend Royal family events at the invitation of Her Majesty.
The statement released by Buckingham Palace added: “While they can no longer formally represent The Queen, the Sussexes have made clear that everything they do will continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty.”
A senior aide added: “There was acceptance and understanding of what the Sussexes want to achieve, and a genuine wish to come up with a way of working that will support their new way of life.”
Furthermore, the Royal family will have no oversight on any commercial deals the Sussexes may strike. A source said: “The spirit of this agreement allows them to pursue financial independence.”
No commercial agreements have yet been signed, but last night Jonathan Shalit, one of the UK’s most successful celebrity agents, predicted that the
Sussexes would become a “billiondollar brand”.
“Never has a member of the British Royal family been available in the commercial market place,” he said.
The Duke and Duchess are thought to have plotted their escape from the Royal family during a six-week sabbatical on Vancouver Island in Canada.
The Duchess made a three-day visit to the UK earlier this month before returning to be reunited with their eight-month-old son, Archie, whom they left behind.
The Duke is expected to return to Canada towards the end of next week.
The new arrangements will come into force at some point in the spring although many complex details are yet to be announced, including the couple’s tax and immigration status.
Penny Junor, the royal biographer, said the resolution represented “the best possible outcome and an outcome which will actually avoid catastrophe”.
But Christopher Wilson, a royal historian, claimed the Queen’s “sweet” statement hid her “bitterness, disappointment and hurt”, saying the Duke had taken a “wrecking-ball to the Royal family’s global reputation for duty and service”. “The damage he’s done is colossal,” he added.
‘While they can no longer represent her, everything they do will uphold the values of Her Majesty’
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, pictured on their tour of Australia, are expected to spend most of their time in North America after departing royal life