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‘Megxit’ is official as Buckingham Palace announces Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are no longer ‘working members’ of the royal family; reaction and analysis from U.K. media correspondent Neil Sean.
Among the announcements made about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry following their decision to “step back” from royal duties was one detailing new protocol for the duo’s royal titles and use of public funding.
While Buckingham Palace announced the news, it didn’t exactly explain what that means and just how important those two items are.
HRH titles refer to the term “his/her royal highness,” which is spoken and written in front of the names of princes and princesses, as well as their spouses. For example, Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton are both referred to as his/her royal highness.
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FILE – In this Tuesday, July 10, 2018 file photo Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, and Meghan the Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry watch a flypast of Royal Air Force aircraft pass over Buckingham Palace in London. As part of a surprise announcement distancing themselves from the British royal family, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan declared they will “work to become financially independent” _ a move that has not been clearly spelled out and could be fraught with obstacles. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)
The statement from Buckingham Palace said that “The Sussexes will not use their HRH titles as they are no longer working members of the Royal Family.” It’s important to note that Harry, 35, is still recognized as a prince and direct grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, and he did not renounce, nor was he stripped of the title, but he has agreed simply not to use it.
The term “working members” refers to those carrying out royal duties, such as William, Middleton and Prince Charles.
In addition to retaining the title of “prince,” Harry also will still be known as the Duke of Sussex, and Markle, 38, will be called the Duchess of Sussex.
Recent reports have indicated that her official title will be “Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex,” however, placing a comma between the Christian name and the royal title is a stylization generally only reserved for widows and those divorced from the royal family, as is the case for the late Diana, Princess of Wales and Sarah, Duchess of York.
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It is reported that the crown is currently reviewing the stylization of the royal couple’s titles and an announcement will soon be made with exact details.
The second part of the deal is that Harry and Markle will give up public funding.
The royal family receives most of the money for their charitable exploits, living costs and the like from what’s called a “duchy,” which is similar to a taxpayer-funded trust.
The money that Harry and Markle previously received largely came from the Duchy of Cornwall, which is overseen by Charles, who would divide the funds between himself, his sons and their spouses.
Harry and Markle also received money from the Sovereign Grant, which operates similar to a Duchy and provided them with about $130,000 per year. They will no longer have access to that money.
What this all means is that Harry and Markle will now be responsible for raising their own money to throw charity events, travel to make public appearances and such, as well as to pay for food, shelter and other everyday necessities.
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Reports have circulated stating that Harry is still expected to receive some money from Charles, 71, possibly as much as $3 million, though nothing is confirmed and how this fits into the arrangement is still unknown.
The statement from Buckingham Palace also explained that Harry and Markle intend to pay back some of the money they’ve recently spent.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have shared their wish to repay Sovereign Grant expenditure for the refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, which will remain their UK family home,” read the statement.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will repay the costs of the Frogmore Cottage renovations to the Sovereign Grant. (Shutterstock)
This is in reference to the renovation work done on their home, Frogmore Cottage, which was completed in order to make it more family-friendly in preparation for the birth of Harry and Markle’s son Archie, now 8 months old. The couple will repay the money to the Grant, and continue using Frogmore Cottage as their U.K. home while splitting time between there and Canada.
In giving up their public funding, Harry and Markle are free to explore other options for raising money, such as, as is widely speculated, crafting a production deal in Hollywood.
This also brings into question security for the pair, which is provided to the royal family by a special, taxpayer-funded security force. Details about the couple’s international security have yet to be announced, but the Sussex’s website states that security is “mandated” by the queen.
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No long-term plans for Harry and Markle have been announced in terms of how they’ll raise funds.
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