The announcement, which was made by Queen Elizabeth II on Saturday will see the couple, who have been under intense British media scrutiny since their marriage in 2018 lose their “Royal Highness” titles. They will also not perform any royal duties and not receive public funding from the spring of 2020. They are also to pay back $3.06 million in taxpayers’ money that was used to renovate their Frogmore Cottage residence as well as pay an annual commercial rent for it.
“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,” the Queen said in the statement. “Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my 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,” she continued. “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.”
After the announcement, Prince Harry, for the first time, spoke extensively about their decision to step back from the royal family at a Sentebale supporters charity dinner on Sunday.
“Before I begin, I can only imagine what you’ve heard or perhaps read in the past few weeks,” he said in his speech which was shared on the Sussex Royal Instagram page. “So, I want you to hear the truth from me, as much as I can share. Not as a prince, or a duke, but as Harry — the same person that many of you have watched grow up in the past 35 years.”
He added: “The U.K. is my home and a place that I love. That will never change. I’ve grown up feeling supported from so many of you and I watched as you welcomed Meghan with open arms, as you saw me find the love and happiness that I’d hoped for all my life.
“I also know you’ve come to know me well enough over all these years to trust that the woman I chose as my wife upholds the same values as I do,” he said.
“And she does, and she’s the same woman I fell in love with. We both do everything we can to fly the flag and carry out our roles for this country with pride. Once Meghan and I were married, we were excited, we were hopeful, and we were here to serve.”
“It brings me great sadness it’s come to this,” he continued, adding that “there was no other option” though he had hoped he could still continue to serve the Queen.
“The decision that I have made for my wife and I to step back is not one I made lightly. It was so many months of talks after so many years of challenges. And I know I haven’t always gotten it right, but as far as this goes, there really was no other option. What I want to make clear is we’re not walking away, and we certainly aren’t walking away from you,” he said.
“Our hope was to continue serving the queen, the commonwealth, and my military associations, but without public funding. Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible. I’ve accepted this, knowing that it doesn’t change who I am or how committed I am,” he continued. “I hope that helps you understand what it had to come to, that I would step my family back from all I have ever known, to take a step forward into what I hope can be a more peaceful life.”
“We are taking a leap of faith – thank you for giving me the courage to take this next step,” he concluded.
Harry and Meghan have been at the center of unabated negative press, particularly from the British media. A section of the public allude the constant harassment to Markle’s race, as her mother is black.