Prince Harry Speaks Out About Changes For His Family
Prince Harry said there really was no other option but to step back.
It did not take long for Queen Elizabeth to give Prince Harry and Meghan Markle answers concerning their desire to step down from being senior members of the royal family and become financially independent. Discussions had been going on for months before the Duke and Duchess of Sussex posted their announcement on their Instagram page on Wednesday, January 8, 2020.
Then five days later on Monday, January 13, Queen Elizabeth called an emergency meeting with Prince Charles, Prince William, and Prince Harry. Meghan was in Canada with Archie and did not attend the meeting or call in because it was determined that it was not necessary for her to do so.
After two and a half hours, the royals had come to some decisions concerning Prince Harry and Meghan's desire while considering what is best for the monarchy.
Changes Made for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex
Queen Elizabeth released a statement on Saturday, January 18 where she acknowledged conversations with the pair had been going on for months. She revealed that a constructive and supportive way has been worked out. She added that she is aware of the intense scrutiny her grandson and his wife have endured over the last two years. That proves the Queen wasn't blindsided as some critics suggested.
Prince Harry and Meghan received Queen Elizabeth's blessings and support for them to split their time in the United Kingdom and North America. They will keep their Duke and Duchess of Sussex titles. However, they have to give up their royal titles His and Her Royal Highness (HRH) because they will no long represent the Queen. They will withdraw from all royal duties including official military appointments. They will no longer receive state funding.
The statement by Buckingham Palace said the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would continue to maintain their private patronages and associations. Prince Harry said in his speech on Monday that he and his wife will continue a life of service.
It was agreed that Prince Harry and Meghan will pay back about $3 million of British taxpayers' money that was used to renovate Frogmore Cottage. That's where they will stay when they spend time in the UK. The Palace did not comment on who will pay for the couple's security in Canada.
Prince Harry was born a royal and will always be one. However, he has to give up his military honors. London's Madame Tussauds museum did not hesitate to remove the wax figures of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex from the royal section the day after the announcement was made that they were stepping down. The figures are still in the museum, but they are not standing with Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Madame Tussauds said the wax figures were separated from the family to mirror the couple's progressive new role within the royal institution.
Even though the terms have been laid out, they do not go into effect until the spring of 2020. Therefore, Prince Harry and his family are embarking upon a transitional period. The changes can be revisited at any time, and they have the option to return to senior members of the royal family in the future.
How Prince Harry Responded to the Agreement
Prince Harry spoke out for the first time about the arrangements at a charity event in London on Sunday evening, January 19. He expressed great sadness, but he added that there was no other option. He began by saying, "The UK is my home and a place that I love. That will never change."
While some people are blaming Meghan for the decision to step back, Prince Harry made it clear that there had been many months of talks after so many years of challenges. In other words, those challenges had taken place long before he met his wife in 2016. Also, throughout his speech, Prince Harry used the word "I" several times such as "I made a decision, and I did not make it lightly." He emphasized that this was his call even though he and Meghan had discussed it many times together. Hopefully, Prince Harry has dispelled the rumor that Meghan was responsible for their decision to step down.
Prince Harry concluded that he was hoping to continue serving the Queen, the commonwealth and his military association without public funding, but those things were not agreed upon.
What's Next for the Sussexes?
The Duke of Sussex emphasized in his speech that his decision to move back from all he has ever known was to take a step forward into what he hopes can be a more peaceful life for him and his family.
Prince Harry joined his wife and son in Canada on Tuesday, January 21 to start a new chapter toward that peaceful life. Photos show that he was beaming with joy as he stepped off a jet and into a waiting car in Vancouver Island at 12:47 a.m. The 35-year-old prince had not seen his wife in 11 days, and he had not seen his 8-month-old son since he left Canada after the Christmas holiday.
Before the couple's life becomes totally free in the spring, Harry is expected to return to the United Kingdom for formal engagements from time to time, but Meghan and Archie are expected to stay in Canada at a private mega-mansion.
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