royal family

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up 'royal highness' titles  

Buckingham Palace said Harry and Meghan will cease to be working members of the royal family when the new arrangements take effect in “spring 2020.” They will be known as Harry, Duke and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.

Harry and Meghan Wont Play the Game   -1%

The unofficial motto of the Queen Mother was simple: “Never complain, never explain.” It was an attitude influenced by her aristocratic upbringing—in which a “stiff upper lip” was highly prized—and the sense that the royal family must retain its mystery to survive.

It is a motto that Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, have comprehensively rejected. The couple’s announcement that they will “step back” as senior members of the royal family is a significant moment in the centuries-old soap opera of the British monarchy. Harry and Meghan have come to symbolize a new type of royal: unashamedly political, emotionally open, socially conscious. As a mixed-race woman and a feminist, Meghan has become an icon (and a hate figure). As an American, she has exported the Windsor brand back to a continent that once took a rather dim view of hereditary rulers. And like another American divorcée, Wallis Simpson, she has emboldened her royal husband to break away from his family.

The couple have repeatedly shown their willingness to complain, and to explain. The 12-year-old boy once told to walk behind his mother’s coffin, showing no emotion, has grown up into a man determined to talk about his mental-health struggles. Markle has been similarly honest about the difficult transition to royal wife and mother. “Not many people have asked if I’m okay,” she told a reporter for the British broadcaster ITV in October, fighting back tears.

Harry and Meghan have departed from royal protocol by laying the blame for this unhappiness squarely at the door of the media. The novelist Hilary Mantel once compared the royal family to pandas. There is one big difference, though: Zoos are nice to pandas. Parts of the British press have often taken a baiting tone with the royals, accusing them of being lazy drifters while also making it impossible for them to hold down normal jobs. They are too fat, too thin, too “waity,” too “pushy,” too opinionated, too everything.

[Read: The issue with Meghan Markle’s ]Vogue issue

Harry has called out this attitude more since meeting and marrying Markle—a woman with a successful career, money and opinions of her own. Soon after their relationship became public in 2016, he released a statement criticizing “the racial undertones of comment pieces” as well as the “outright sexism and racism of social-media trolls.” He has repeatedly made it clear that the press harassment of Markle has stirred up memories of his mother, Diana, who was being pursued by paparazzi when her car crashed in a Paris underpass in August 1997. “One of the hardest things to come to terms with is the fact that the people that chased her into the tunnel were the same people that were taking photographs of her while she was still dying on the back seat of the car,” he told a BBC documentary on the 20th anniversary of her death.

In October, when Meghan launched a lawsuit against a British newspaper for publishing a letter she wrote to her estranged father, Harry supported the move. “I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditised to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person,” he said in a statement. “I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.”

Accordingly, the announcement about stepping back was accompanied by the launch of a new website,, with a section dedicated to the media. Harry and Meghan will no longer participate in the “royal rota” system, in which one media outlet covers an event and distributes footage and photographs to other organizations. Instead, they will work with “grassroots media organisations and young, up-and-coming journalists,” and “provide access to credible media outlets focused on objective news reporting.” In other words … Harry and Meghan to Royal Correspondents: Drop Dead.

The royal family was surprised and “disappointed” by the announcement, which does not seem to have been cleared in advance. But really, it cannot have come as much of a shock. Harry and Meghan have been edging toward the royal exit door for months. Megxit was merely a matter of time. They have only just returned from six weeks with their baby son, Archie, in a private house on Vancouver Island in Canada, a location that stayed secret until almost the end of their stay. They missed the traditional royal Christmas at Sandringham and undertook no public engagements in that period. It was a remarkable leave of absence from life in the royal zoo.

[Read: Thoroughly modern Meghan]

Previously, no royal has ever taken on the press quite so directly, much though they might have wanted to. In 2005, Harry’s father, Prince Charles, was caught on a microphone complaining about the journalists at a photo-call on their family skiing trip. “I hate these people,” he said. The photo-call was the price of the media leaving the prince and his sons alone for the rest of their holiday. Similar quid pro quos are still in operation: limited, controlled media access in exchange for some peace.

Harry is unwilling to accept this bargain. When Archie was born, there was no announcement that Meghan had gone into labor, and no photoshoot on the hospital steps. (The arrival of his older brother’s children was accompanied by a media scrum, and William struggling to fit a car seat in full glare of the world’s press.) Harry has now gone further. By withdrawing from the royal rota, Harry and Meghan are pursuing a media strategy closer to that of Hollywood A-listers than the grin-and-bear-it universalism associated with the ruling family. The price of access will now be good behavior—or as they call it, “objective news reporting.” No more vague rumors, no more cruel comment pieces, if you want a ringside seat at the Harry and Meghan show.

The most noteworthy part of the statement was the couple’s wish to become “financially independent.” The rationale for press scrutiny of the royal family has always been: We pay for them, so we own them. Harry currently receives an income from his father’s estates in Cornwall, and has an estimated £30 million inheritance from his mother. Giving any of that up would be truly radical, and so would renouncing his title.

[Read: What Meghan Markle means for the royal family]

The evolution of the royal family has always reflected changes in British society, as every season of The Crown proves. In two generations, “The Firm” has gone from forbidding Princess Margaret to marry a divorcé to embracing one—Markle—into its fold without fuss. This latest move reveals another generational shift. Like many other Millennials, Prince Harry is more socially liberal than his elders and more willing to share his emotions on social media. (Also like many other Millennials, he was only able to afford a house thanks to money he got from his parents.) He represents the end of the stiff upper lip as the royals’ default mode, forcing Britons to confront the human cost of their obsession with the monarchy.

Harry has always been a royal rebel: smoking cannabis, partying in Las Vegas, admitting how close he came to a breakdown. With his wife by his side, he may now be making his most significant contribution to the royal family—by walking away from it.

British royals Harry and Meghan step back from senior roles in surprise move  

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan will step back from senior roles in Britain's royal family and spend more time in North America, they said on Wednesday, an announcement that appears to have taken...

Meghan returns to Canada as British royals seek to solve Harry rift   3%

Meghan, the wife of Prince Harry, has gone back to Canada to be with their son after the couple provoked a rift with Britain's royal family by unexpectedly announcing they would be stepping back from their roles to spend more time in North America.

Factbox: Queen Elizabeth's statement on Harry and Meghan's future  

Buckingham Palace announced on Saturday that Prince Harry and his wife Meghan will no longer be working members of Britain's royal family and they will not use their "royal highness" titles as they embark on a more independent future.

Meghan Markle returns to Canada after announcing plan to quit senior royal duties   -5%

Duke and Duchess of Sussex recently announced plans to step down as 'senior' members of royal family and become financially independent

Where did it all go wrong for Harry and Meghan? podcast   30%

Hadley Freeman looks at why, 20 months after the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the couple no longer want to be full-time working members of the royal family. And: Dan Sabbagh on an unprecedented US intervention in the debate over Huawei

Last week, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex made a bombshell announcement: that they were to “step back” from senior roles in the royal family and work towards financial self-sufficiency. The news has rocked the monarchy, raising complex questions – from taxpayers’ support for the royals to the future of the institution itself.

The Guardian columnist Hadley Freeman talks to Anushka Asthana about the role she believes the media played in the couple’s apparent unhappiness with their current situation.

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Prince Harry and Meghan to lose royal titles, access to public money   -10%

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan will no longer be working members of the royal family and will have to repay $4.5 million that was spent renovating their home.

Is 'Megxit' the royals' greatest feminist act?   20%

Meghan Markle most likely thought she could handle being part of the royal family. Hell, if you can make it in Hollywood how much harder can it be? But she underestimated some important elements.

Sorry, old chaps, for making light of Megxit and branding Britains royal family as useless   18%

Dear me, I was expecting plenty of pearl-clutching indignation among the far-flung diaspora of her majesty’s loyal subjects in this former British colony when I dared to criticise the royal family in my last column, but the ferocity of the feedback was something else.I had questioned the newsworthiness of Megxit – that trendily named but completely unnecessary conniption over the escape of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle from the confines of palace life – and, by extension, cast doubt on the…

Queen Elizabeth moves to control Megxit crisis as Meghan Markle heads to Canada   16%

Queen Elizabeth has moved quickly to take control of the crisis surrounding the decision by Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, to distance themselves from the royal family, ordering royal courtiers to sort out a future role for the pair within days.British media reported Friday that the monarch, who is at her Sandringham estate in eastern England, held a conference call with her son Prince Charles and grandsons Prince William and Prince Harry.The royal family is said to be “hurt’’…

From Megxit to Prince Andrews sex scandal: a list of British royal crises of the last century   36%

Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan’s effective resignation from front-line duties is the latest crisis to hit the royal family in the last century.In a shock announcement, the couple said they would spend time in North America and rip up long-established relations with the press.Media reports said the Duke and Duchess of Sussex made their bombshell statement without notifying either Harry’s grandmother the monarch, or his father Prince Charles.The surprise news follows a turbulent year…

Even Prince Harry Has to Hustle  

Naomi Fry writes about a resurfaced video of Prince Harry pitching Meghan Markle for voice-over work to the head of Disney, and what it means in the face of the couple’s announcement that they will no longer be senior members of the Royal Family.

Will Canadian taxpayers fund Harry and Meghan's security?   50%

The royal family says it will not block Harry and Meghan's intent to leave their official roles, but many details are still to be worked out.

Queen Elizabeth II supports Harry and Meghan's plan to step back as royals  

Queen Elizabeth II voiced her support for Harry and Meghan, 'although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working Members of the Royal Family.'

Commentary: Do Harry and Meghan want to have their royal gateau and eat it, too?   -12%

If this were almost any other family, the Meghan and Harry story would be "30-Something Couple Leave Home, Look for Work." But this is the royal family.

Max Foster: Harry and Meghan will now be using these titles  

CNN's Max Foster explains the significance of the news that Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, will no longer use the titles of His and Her Royal Highness after announcing they would step back from their roles as senior members of the royal family.

Meghan and Harry waxworks removed  

London's Madame Tussauds museum has announced that it has removed the waxworks of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex from its Royal Family set.

Harry and Meghan no longer working members of royal family  

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have lost their titles of "His and Her Royal Highness" after announcing they would step back from their roles as senior members of the royal family, Buckingham Palace announced.

Harry and Meghan will no longer use 'His and Her Royal Highness,' Buckingham Palace says  

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will no longer use the titles His and Her Royal Highness after announcing they would step back from their roles as senior members of the royal family, Buckingham Palace announced Saturday.

Prince Harry and Meghan will no longer use royal titles  

Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, will not use their HRH ("His and Her Royal Highness") titles as they are no longer working members of the royal family, according to a statement released today from Buckingham Palace.

Prince Harry and Meghan will give up royal titles, public funding  

Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, will no longer be working members of the Royal Family and will, therefore, no longer use their royal titles or taxpayer money, according to a statement from Buckingham Palace released Saturday.

Harry and Meghans Exit Has Been Dramatized Before   10%

The 2014 play “King Charles III,” in which a fictional Prince Harry wants to leave the royal family, has proved to be prophetic.