Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are no longer senior royals – here’s what that actually means

All your questions answered, including whether they’re still the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
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Just days into the new decade it was an announcement that shocked the world – The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were choosing to step back as senior members of the Royal Family to carve out a “progressive new role” and become “financially independent.”

What did that even mean? What would it entail? Had they informed the Queen and Buckingham Palace beforehand? Judging by the terse two-sentence statement issued by a Palace spokesperson following the bombshell announcement, it seemed unlikely.

It was a whirlwind few weeks trying to map out an agreement between The Sussexes and The Queen, which included an historic summit between the monarch, Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry, but one that today looks very different to the “progressive new role within this institution” Harry and Meghan had so optimistically hoped for in January.

It would have come as a massive blow to Prince Harry in particular that the couple’s wish for essentially a half-in, half-out agreement couldn’t be reached, and while Harry hasn’t denied his disappointment, he is certain in his final decision, revealing he felt there was “no other option” after the rollercoaster of the past few years for him and Meghan.

However, if his decision were to change, The Queen has left the door ajar for the Sussexes, with a review of the agreement planned in 12 months as well as the understanding that she will always be ready to welcome her grandson and his family back into The Firm.

WATCH: Prince Harry shares ‘the truth’ behind he and Meghan’s royal exit. Story continues below…

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It’s hard to believe it’s already been three weeks since Harry and Meghan embarked on their ‘farewell tour’ which truly left an impression, what with Meghan’s fashion-forward looks and that magic movie-moment in the rain.

Since then, the world has been turned upside down with the current pandemic, even forcing the family-of-three to make a quick move from their temporary home on Vancouver Island in Canada to Los Angeles, where they’ll be closer to their agents and PR team as well as Meghan’s family and friends.

According to a spokesperson who spoke to the couple “will spend the next few months focusing on their family and continuing to do what they can, safely and privately, to support and work with their pre-existing charitable commitments while developing their future non-profit organisation.”

As the family-of-three begin their new chapter away from royal life in California, here are some of the things that will and will not change from today.

Are Harry and Meghan still the Duke and Duchess of Sussex?

Yes. Harry and Meghan will continue to hold their title of Duke and Duchess of Sussex however they’ve been making it quite clear they’d prefer to be referred to as simply Harry and Meghan. In their final Instagram post on their record-breaking @SussexRoyal, they signed off with simply their names, while at a working summit in February Harry asked to be introduced as “just Harry”.

Are Harry and Meghan still His and Her Royal Highness?

Technically, yes. While the couple will still hold their HRH styling, they will not be able to actively use it if they are not working royals.

Meghan and Harry sure made a lasting impression during their final engagements as working royals, dubbed the ‘farewell tour’. (Image: Getty)

Are Harry and Archie still in line of succession for the throne?

Yes. Harry is still sixth in line and Archie seventh.

Will they still represent the Queen and the Commonwealth?

No. In the agreement made with the Queen and the Palace, Harry and Meghan will no longer represent the Queen or the Commonwealth on official engagements.

What happens to their patronages?

While they will no longer be representing the Queen or Commonwealth, the couple will continue their roles as patrons for their respective charities and organisations. They will also retain their roles as President and Vice-President of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust.

Will Harry keep is military ranks?

When it comes to Harry’s military ranks he will retain his ranks of Major, Lieutenant Commander and Squadron Leader during the 12-month trial period, however, his honorary positions will not be used.

Will Harry continue his work with the Invictus Foundation and the Travalyst initiative?

Yes. The Invictus Foundation and Games was created by Prince Harry and it is incredibly important to him. While Games have had to be postponed until next year in light of Covid-19, he is still very much involved in everything.

While Harry’s sustainable travel initiative Travalyst had been intended to be the focal point of his and Meghan’s new foundation, with the switch to a non-profit organisation Harry is in the process of becoming a non-profit organisation based in the UK.

In a statement released earlier this week, it was revealed the Duke and the Travalyst partners were working closely to find a way that the non-profit organisation can aid in “global recovery, especially communities, wildlife and the environment at the same time,” when restrictions surrounding the current Covid-19 epidemic begin to ease.

The couple will now no longer represent the Queen or the Commonwealth on any official engagements. (Image: Getty)

What’s the deal with the use of the word ‘royal’?

Towards the tail-end of discussion on the agreement, the use of the word ‘royal’ in all of the couple’s ‘Sussex Royal’ branding became a complication as it’s assumed it may be seen as distasteful for the couple, who will now be able to earn money from their work and appearances, to commercialise the word.

The couple has made it clear they would have never done such a thing anyway, but as it stands, the couple will no longer be able to use the word ‘royal’ in any capacity now that they’re no longer working royals, which means it affects their Instagram account of more than 11.3 million followers and their official website.

What’s the non-profit organisation they have in the works?

Last month Harry and Meghan revealed as well as ditching the word ‘royal’ from their branding, they’d also decided to create a non-profit organisation rather than a foundation, as they had originally planned.

While a lot of the details are still under wraps a spokesperson has said the charitable organisation will follow similar themes to the work they have championed as working royals which includes “the Commonwealth, community, youth empowerment and mental health.”

Last week it was also revealed they’ve hired former Bill and Melinda Gate’s staffer Catherine St-Laurent as their chief of staff and executive director.

How will Harry and Meghan make an income?

Similar to say, former presidents, the couple could take jobs such as giving speeches as writing books and of course, Meghan could always return to her days as an actress, although that seems very unlikely.

Who will pay for their security?

When the couple moved to Canada there was a big furore over who would be paying for their security and whether it would be publicly funded. When it was revealed the couple had moved to Los Angeles just before the border closed between Canada and the US, President Trump took to Twitter, refusing to pay for any security the family-of-three might require.

A spokesperson for the couple was quick to respond however, saying the couple has “no plans to ask the U.S. government for security resources.”

Adding, “privately funded security arrangements have been made.”

The couple have had to make a lot of new plans after it was decided they cannot use the word ‘royal’ in any capacity moving forward. (Image: Getty)

What happens to their new family home Frogmore Cottage?

As Harry and Meghan had planned to split their time between North America and the UK, the couple’s newly refurbished home at Windsor will remain theirs, however, the couple has offered to pay back the £2.4 million (NZD $4.6 million) for the renovation, which was originally paid out of the Sovereign Grant.

Can Harry and Meghan return?

If they wanted to, probably. The current agreement is currently in a 12-month trial period as there is no precedent for the new model of working. It’s also understood that the Queen has told her grandson that he is always welcome back and publicly expressed her fondness for the Sussexes.

“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 93-year-old monarch wrote in a statement.

“I want to thank them for all their dedicated work across this country, the Commonwealth and beyond, 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.”

In the couple’s final Instagram post before officially stepping back, Harry and Meghan thanked their followers for their support.

“Thank you to this community – for the support the inspiration and the shared commitment to the good in the world,” the pair wrote.

“We look forward to reconnecting with you soon. You’ve been great! Until then, please take care of yourselves and one another.”

Signed simply, “Harry and Meghan”.

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