On Wednesday afternoon, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made the shocking announcement that they will step back “as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent.” In their statement on Instagram (sadly not a Notes App screenshot, I was really holding out hope), they say they’ll be splitting their time between the UK and North America, while continuing to honor the Royal Family, and also focusing on the launch of their “new charitable entity.” While I’m sure some of you know way too much about this sh*t already, for the average American, this might as well be gibberish. Allow me to explain.
On first glance, it’s shocking news—and I don’t just mean it’s shocking because Meghan achieved every teenage girl’s dream of marrying a prince and is now throwing it away. The Royal Family has basically stayed the same for centuries, and this announcement marks a major departure for two of its most prominent members. In particular, the Royal Family is famous for working overtime to keep private issues out of the spotlight, and a decision like this will obviously trigger tons of speculation about what behind the scenes events caused it. But considering all the struggles Harry and Meghan have dealt with recently, I’m gonna go ahead and say the reasons don’t require a whole lot of speculation and this feels like a logical step for them.
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“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. 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 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. 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.” – The Duke and Duchess of Sussex For more information, please visit sussexroyal.com (link in bio) Image © PA
Ever since Harry and Meghan’s engagement in 2017, rumors have persisted about a rift between Harry and his brother William, and if the sources are to be believed, their relationship hasn’t gotten any better. Last year, reports surfaced that William had been caught cheating on Kate, and Harry was purportedly livid with him about it (although the royal family has denied the affair). Over the summer, Harry took important steps to establish his own public identity separate from his brother, as he and Meghan hired their own staff and launched their own social media accounts, because nothing says “f*ck you” like a 35-year-old man deciding to stop sharing an Instagram account with his brother. Around the same time, Harry also split from the charitable foundation the brothers founded together in 2009. Again, sick burn.
But aside from the passive-aggressive stuff between the brothers, things have actually been pretty sh*tty for Meghan Markle. In recent months, Meghan has faced intense scrutiny from the brutal British tabloids, which IMO are even more brutal than American tabloids even though you think British people are supposed to be classy and reserved. This lead to both her and Harry to speak publicly about the toll the media attention has taken. Meghan told one journalist that her pregnancy and the months that followed had been “really challenging” due to media scrutiny, and that it would be fair to say she’s “not really okay.” I know I don’t exactly make my living from saying nice things about people online, but seriously, leave the poor woman alone.
Knowing all of this, it makes sense that Harry and Meghan are ready to get some distance from the intense pressure of the Royal Family, especially because Harry isn’t in the direct line of succession to the throne. He’ll never be the Queen’s favorite grandson, and it’s not just because he married an American. Of course, he’ll always be royal, but he should face far less scrutiny for his actions in America. I mean, he’s the one who both wore a Nazi costume AND had nudes leak, and we barely even remember that stuff. Will could never get away with that sh*t! If Harry wants to go live in Canada or LA or Vegas or something for three months out of the year, nothing bad will happen.
I’d also imagine that the constant royal schedule of going to events and shaking hands and cutting ribbons and giving speeches and pretending to like gross rando children isn’t actually that fun when it’s all you’re supposed to do for your entire life. Harry is still only 35 years old, so he has plenty of time to start his own foundation, or play golf, or do whatever the f*ck he wants to do. Speaking of that, the thing that’s most interesting to me about this announcement is the “financially independent” bit. As someone who uh, is not rich, the thought of giving up whatever generous Royal Family allowance he gets is truly harrowing. Like, I’m about 10 minutes away from selling my feet pics over here, but sure Harry—strive for financial independence! It’s sooooo fun.
The thing is, obviously Harry and Meghan can do whatever they want to do, but we all know they’re not going to like, get actual jobs. Launching a charitable foundation is great, and that takes a lot of work (or so the rich WASP-y moms from my hometown tell me), but I don’t think they’re going to be in the office every day hustling for their salaries and negotiating their benefits packages the way normal people do. No shade, but like, that’s not happening. You won’t be in line for your Sweetgreen salad behind Prince Harry, no matter how many days in a row you go. They’re going to get a nice paycheck from their foundation or whatever, and I’m sure they will not go hungry. But worst case (or best case for us), maybe they’ll get desperate and have to do a reality TV show. Hey, I can dream.
I’m sure Harry and Meghan will be back soon with some more updates on what their new life will look like, but until then, I’d just like to formally say that I’m more than happy to accept whatever allowance they’re not going to take anymore. I’m neither British nor a member of the Royal Family, but my accent is pretty good, and I’m more than happy to pretend.
Images: sussexroyal / Instagram