Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have made the stunning move official:
They are, for all intents and purposes, no longer part of The Royal Family.
The couple made this shocking decision on January 8 by releasing a statement that, sources have said, Queen Elizabeth did not see coming.
What does this mean for Archie's parents? Markle and Harry figured you'd have questions along those lines.
So they've actually set up a website to answer each one. Scroll down for more!
First Question: This Really Happened?!?
Yup! “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,” the Duke and Duchess of Sussex wrote on Instagram. “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 know, right?!? “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," they added. "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.”
Did the Queen and Company See This Coming?
Apparently not. Multiple outlets say Meghan and Harry did NOT tell members of his family that this announcement was forthcoming and that the Royals are "disappointed."
That Much is Obvious
Just consider this terse response from Kensington Palace: "Discussions with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage. We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through."
Great question. Meghan and Harry have updated https://sussexroyal.com with a FAQ section to basically set the table for their future. So we'll now turn everything over to them and let these Royal rebels explain what's happening in more depth.
How will The Duke and Duchess of Sussex handle media relations in the future?
In the spring of 2020, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be adopting a revised media approach to ensure diverse and open access to their work. This adjustment will be a phased approach as they settle into the new normality of their updated roles. This updated approach aims to: Engage with grassroots media organisations and young, up-and-coming journalists; Invite specialist media to specific events/engagements to give greater access to their cause-driven activities, widening the spectrum of news coverage; Provide access to credible media outlets focused on objective news reporting to cover key moments and events; Continue to share information directly to the wider public via their official communications channels; No longer participate in the Royal Rota system.
Why have The Duke and Duchess of Sussex elected to change their media policy now?
The Duke and Duchess have chosen to revise their media policy to reflect both their forthcoming change as members of the Royal Family with financial independence, and their wish to reshape and broaden access to their work.
How does this new media policy relate to the UK’s Royal Correspondents?
Britain’s Royal Correspondents are regarded internationally as credible sources of both the work of members of The Royal Family as well as of their private lives. This misconception propels coverage that is often carried by other outlets around the world, amplifying frequent misreporting. Regrettably, stories that may have been filed accurately by Royal Correspondents are, also, often edited or rewritten by media editorial teams to present false impressions.
What is The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s stance on media in general?
The Duke and Duchess believe in a free, strong and open media industry, which upholds accuracy and fosters inclusivity, diversity and tolerance. Both The Duke and Duchess have collaborated with media organisations including: Time Magazine, National Geographic, The Daily Telegraph, British Vogue, and various others. Their Royal Highnesses recognise that their roles as members of the Royal Family are subject to interest, and they welcome accurate and honest media reporting as well as being held to account if appropriate. Equally, like every member of society, they also value privacy as individuals and as a family.
Will they continue to have a social media platform?
Yes, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will continue to have a social media platform. They look forward to continuing their use of social media and believe that their updated media approach will enable them to share more, with you, directly.
Is this change of policy being adopted by other members of the Royal Family?
The changes outlined above apply to The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and their son, Archie. They do not speak on behalf of the other members of The Royal Family in regards to their media relations policies.
Why are The Duke and Duchess of Sussex choosing this new working model?
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex take great pride in their work and are committed to continuing their charitable endeavours as well as establishing new ones. In addition, they value the ability to earn a professional income, which in the current structure they are prohibited from doing. For this reason they have made the choice to become members of the Royal Family with financial independence. Their Royal Highnesses feel this new approach will enable them to continue to carry out their duties for Her Majesty The Queen, while having the future financial autonomy to work externally. While the contribution from The Sovereign Grant covers just five percent of costs for The Duke and Duchess and is specifically used for their official office expense, Their Royal Highnesses prefer to release this financial tie. More details on the specifics of the Sovereign Grant are outlined below.
What is the Sovereign Grant?
The Sovereign Grant is the annual funding mechanism of the monarchy that covers the work of the Royal Family in support of HM The Queen including expenses to maintain official residences and workspaces. In this exchange, The Queen surrenders the revenue of the Crown Estate and in return, a portion of these public funds are granted to The Sovereign/The Queen for official expenditure.
Do any other members of the Royal Family hold a title and earn an income?
Yes, there is precedent for this structure and applies to other current members of the Royal Family who support the monarch and also have full time jobs external to their commitment to the monarchy.
Do The Duke and Duchess of Sussex earn income?
No, under the current structure and financing arrangements, they are prohibited from earning any income in any form.
Do The Duke and Duchess of Sussex benefit financially from their charitable and cause-driven work?
No, see above.
By becoming financially independent, will The Duke and Duchess of Sussex be cutting ties with the monarchy?
As working members of the Royal Family, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain dedicated to maximising Her Majesty’s legacy both in the UK and throughout the Commonwealth. They will continue to proudly do so by supporting their patronages and carrying out works for The Monarchy within the UK or abroad, as called upon.
Have The Duke and Duchess of Sussex benefited from public funding and tax benefits as members of the Royal Family?
Five percent of the funding for their official office was provided through the Sovereign Grant starting in 2019 (more details on Sovereign Grant below). Public funding has never been used, nor would it ever be used for private expenditure by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who also do not receive any tax privileges.
How has the Office of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex been funded up to now?
Since the establishment of The Office of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, 95 percent of the funding received for their Office expenditure is derived from income allocated by HRH The Prince of Wales, generated through the Duchy of Cornwall. This provision has been in place since Prince William and Prince Harry first established their offices in support of The Queen, and is the responsibility of The Prince of Wales. This information continues to be available on The Duchy of Cornwall website.
Where does the other five percent come from?
As described above, the remaining five percent of funding for the Office of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, covering costs associated with employing members of their official office, is received through the Sovereign Grant. During the course of 2020, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have made the choice to step back as senior members of the Royal Family and no longer receive funding through the Sovereign Grant, thereby making them members of the Royal Family with financial independence. This phased approach will take time to transition in consultation with other senior members of the Royal Family, but Their Royal Highnesses are hopeful that this change is in the best interest for all and look forward to carrying out their duties to the monarch as well as their charitable work with financial autonomy.
Given their transition into members of the Royal Family with financial independence, will The Duke and Duchess of Sussex maintain their residence at Frogmore Cottage?
Frogmore Cottage will continue to be the property of Her Majesty the Queen. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will continue to use Frogmore Cottage – with the permission of Her Majesty The Queen – as their official residence as they continue to support the Monarchy, and so that their family will always have a place to call home in the United Kingdom.
Why do they carry out official overseas visits and who pays for it?
The Duke and Duchess proudly carry out official overseas visits in support of Her Majesty The Queen at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), as is the case for all members of the Royal Family. The length and location of these tours are determined by the FCO and the Royal Visits Committee. All Official overseas visits are in support of Her Majesty’s Government’s objectives and paid for by The Sovereign Grant as well as contributions from the host country, when appropriate.
Does their future financial autonomy extend to covering the costs of travel?
All travel arrangements undertaken by The Duke and Duchess in their private time have always been and will continue to be paid for privately and not by UK taxpayers. With their transition to becoming members of the Royal Family with financial independence this will continue to be the case. Wherever possible and unless advised otherwise on security grounds, their logistical arrangements are undertaken via commercial air carriers, local trains and fuel-efficient vehicles, be it for official or personal travel.