World

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.

Statement from Buckingham Palace says Sussexes also want to repay cost of Frogmore Cottage refurbishment

Commentator Katie Nicholl discusses the future of the British monarchy now that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will no longer serve as working members of the Royal Family. 8:36

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.

"As agreed in this new arrangement, they understand that they are required to step back from Royal duties, including official military appointments," the statement reads. "They will no longer receive public funds for Royal duties."

The changes will take place in the spring.

The decision follows weeks of uncertainty and hastily called family meetings after the couple announced they would be stepping back from their senior roles within the Royal Family and spending more time in North America.

In a surprising Instagram message posted at the beginning of 2020, the pair called the move "a progressive new role within this institution" and expressed a desire to become financially independent.

In line with that objective, the Sussexes intend to repay costs for the controversial refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, according to Saturday's palace statement. It will remain the couple's U.K. residence.

The historic home, which is located just south of Windsor Castle and offers more privacy, was the subject of scrutiny last year. Media reports revealed renovations to the building — which cost an estimated £2.4 million ($4 million Cdn)  — were coming from the Sovereign Grant, the monarchy's taxpayer-funded account for official expenses.

Q&A | Watch as royal commentator Katie Nicholl discusses Harry and Meghan coming to Canada:

Prince Harry and Meghan will split their time between Canada and the U.K., after the couple revealed they'll be stepping back from their royal roles. Royal commentator Katie Nicholl helps answer all your questions about Prince Harry and Meghan's decision to come to Canada. 27:28

Prince Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, spent their Christmas holidays in B.C. and are planning to live in Canada part time. The couple has battled intense media attention since their relationship became public in 2016. The coverage has continued after the birth of their son, Archie.

In a British documentary released last year after becoming parents, Markle didn't hide the fact that living under a microscope was a struggle and has taken a toll on her mental health.

"It's a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes," she told ITV reporter Tom Bradby.

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, will no longer be working members of the Royal Family and will, therefore, give up their HRH titles. (Dominic Lipinski/The Associated Press)

It remains unclear whether the Canadian government will cover security costs for the couple. Buckingham Palace won't comment on details of those arrangements, but says there are "well established independent processes to determine the need for publicly-funded security."

In an unusually personal message added to the Palace statement, the Queen said she is "particularly proud of how Meghan has so quickly become one of the family."

"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," said the Queen. "It is my whole family's hope that today's agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life."

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.