Harry and Meghan will no longer use their HRH titles or receive public funds for royal duties, the couple have announced as talks about their future in the royal family concluded. They will also repay £2.4 million of taxpayer’s money spent on renovating their Berkshire home.
The Queen said in a statement: “Following many months of conversations and more recent discussions, I am pleased that together we have found a constructive and supportive way forward for my grandson and his family. Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family.”
Buckingham Palace said under the new arrangement agreed with Harry and Meghan they are “required to step back from royal duties” and will no longer receive public funds for them.
The couple will become known as Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, from the spring.
Although they will not use their HRH titles, they will still retain them. Harry, who was born a prince of Wales, will remain a prince.
The Sussexes had previously announced that they were planning on moving to Canada part time. The Queen said in an earlier statement that the couple would be given a “period of transition” as they stepped down as royals.
The couple’s unexpected announcement prompted speculation about the reasons behind their decision. The pair have faced years of scrutiny from parts of the media – and racist abuse from the public, especially online.
Markle is currently taking legal action against the Mail on Sunday and its parent company, Associated Newspapers. The newspaper is accused of unlawfully publishing one of Meghan’s private letters to her father. The Mail on Sunday argues publishing the letter was justified and says there is a “huge and legitimate” public interest in the “personal relationships” of the royals.
A study for HuffPost UK by analysts at the University of Sunderland revealed hundreds of racist and sexist tweets aimed at Meghan Markle following the couple’s decision to step back.
A number of Black people told HuffPost UK they are not surprised by Meghan and Harry’s announcement and believe the media played a part in their decision.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.