The world was shocked when Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, announced their decision to renounce duties as “senior” royals, as was the Palace. No advanced notice was given to the Queen, but many speculated that they were growing increasingly dissatisfied with their life in the public eye. At Popular Everything, we’re breaking down all the issues that led up to their eventual split.
Signs that they were suffering from the intense media attention were apparent since the fall of 2017, where our timeline starts. Who would have thought that just a year and a half after coming into the royal circle, Meghan would want out? After such a surprising turn of events, it deserves a more in-depth break down of what escalated their decision. Check out this visual timeline of what they’ve been through the last few months.
Three Intense Years
It’s no secret that it hasn’t been an easy transition into royal duties for Meghan, and even from the start of their relationship, she was the subject of intense scrutiny. In November 2016, Harry’s communications secretary released an official public statement on how the British press were harassing his then-girlfriend. His world has been turned upside down in the last three years since they met on that fateful blind date.
Now that they intend to make their way as a financially independent couple, what work will they take up? Where will they move to? And will Harry start using his last name? These are just some of the questions the world is waiting to have answered. Until then, we’ll begin our timeline from the point that the cracks began to show – at the beginning.
September 2017 – Meghan Admits She’s Having Challenges
When she graced the cover of Vanity Fair magazine. Meghan revealed that it wasn’t all roses dating the prince. “It has its challenges, and it comes in waves” she admitted, earnestly adding that “some days it can feel more challenging than others.” In two months’ time, they would announce their engagement, which only intensified this feeling.
Meghan added, “And right out of the gate it was surprising the way things changed,” before acknowledging, “But I still have this support system all around me, and, of course, my boyfriend’s support.” She was still fairly positive at that point but gave weight to the difficult position she is in. Things were still new, after all.
November 2017 – They Reveal Their Shock at Intense Scrutiny
Meghan was 36 years old when she became engaged to Prince Harry, who was three years her junior. She admitted that she had been “naive” in the early days of their relationship, especially in regard to what it would be like to date a member of the royal family. It seems clear that she was becoming more aware of how all-encompassing life with a royal would be.
Harry said that “as much as possible,” he tried to warn Meghan about how difficult it could be. Ultimately, they were “totally surprised” by how much attention they were garnering. Speaking to the BBC, she explains that “we were hit so hard at the beginning with a lot of mistruths.”
December 2017 – Things Get Awkward at Christmas
Meghan’s first Christmas with the rest of the Royal family was blighted by an awkward situation that soon emerged in the press. Princess Michael of Kent was seen wearing a racially insensitive broach on her jacket to the Christmas lunch. It was a piece of “blackamoor” jewelry that depicted a man of African descent.
You’d think a Royal wearing racist jewelry in the company of Meghan would be about one of the worst things that could happen at Christmas. The palace released a statement saying that the Princess was “very sorry and distressed” at having caused offense, defending her poor judgment with words about it being “a gift” that had “been worn many times before.”
May 2018 – They Break From Traditions on Their Wedding Day
In 2018, Harry and Meghan married each other at Windsor castle and took on the titles, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. The world was watching as Meghan walked herself down the aisle, not with her father by her side. He wasn’t at the wedding altogether. Prince Charles met her at the other end, and the world was curious as to why she had chosen to defy tradition.
They also broke from tradition by having a black bishop of the Episcopal Church preside over their vows and deliver a sermon on love – a royal wedding first. The Royal family members in attendance were said to look on “bemused” at their ceremony, which diverged so much from their typical wedding traditions.
October 2018 – A Rough Start to Her Pregnancy
Harry and Meghan announced that they’re expecting their first child together. It wasn’t long after the wedding, and since Meghan was at the start of her pregnancy, it didn’t really show when they began their tour of the commonwealth that same month. In press photos, Meghan was seen cradling her small bump on numerous occasions.
The press didn’t respond favorably to Meghan’s gestures. She was accused of “virtue signaling” and “flaunting” her little baby bump. They attacked her for putting on a self-righteous act or demonstrating moral correctness. This only encouraged the public to think of her as someone who is inauthentic and untrustworthy.
February 2019 – Her Baby Shower Only Poured Fuel on the Fire
Meghan chose to have her baby shower in New York rather than in the U.K. It was funded by close friend Serena Williams, the tennis sensation, with all her guests enduring a sea of camera flashes from the paparazzi. What was a special occasion for the Duchess, was condemned on the other side of the ocean.
Throwing a baby shower is less common in Britain and led to the opinion that it was over-the-top. The event was unaffectionately termed “Showergate,” and confirmed for many who were on the fence that Meghan was, in fact, too American to be part of the Royal family.
March 2019 – Rumors Emerge About a Rift Between Harry and William
While Meghan was still pregnant, the couple chose to end their residency with Kensington Palace, opting for the Frogmore Cottage in Windsor instead. Renovations to the cottage looked to be upwards of $3 million of British taxpayer’s money, which naturally, soured the public’s feelings towards them.
At the same time, rumors started to emerge about a rift between William and Harry. All this negative publicity was certainly taking its toll, and the couple settled on the idea of hiring the American PR genie Sara Latham, who’s work for Hilary Clinton made her seem abundantly qualified.
April 2019 – Breaking From Tradition on Social Media
Opening an Instagram account isn’t anything new for Royal family members, but Harry and Meghan’s approach to using the social media platform is. They chose to have full control of what they posted under their name, @sussexroyal, writing the captions in their own words.
The images they choose are often never-been-seen photos of them, as are reportedly hand-picked by the couple. Unlike royals before them, they made themselves more vulnerable to criticisms and scrutiny by refusing to go through a mediator.
Early May 2019 – A Very Nontraditional Birth Announcement
Their first child, Archie, was born and the world raised its eyebrows when they announced he wouldn’t be receiving a title. They asked instead that he be referred to as “Master,” and revealed Archie’s gender themselves through Instagram. They were doing things their way.
The public wasn’t alerted to when she went into the hospital and even at the photocall two days after the birth, they only let in a few hand-selected press members. In another break from tradition, Meghan arranged for the camera team from the American television network CBS to join the photocall.
Late May 2019 – British Radio Host Accused of Racism Towards Archie
In May 2019, Meghan was subjected to more racial abuse. This time in a much more public way. British radio show host Danny Baker posted on Twitter a picture of chimpanzee when referring to the newborn baby, Archie. It was recognized as racist and insensitive due to Archie’s mixed-heritage. In the end, the radio show host was fired after the controversy.
He claimed not to have been aware of the racist connotations and that the comparison was between royals and circus animals. Danny later tweeted, “Would have used same stupid pic for any other Royal birth or Boris Johnson kid or even one of my own,” He added, “It’s a funny image. (Though not of course in that context.) Enormous mistake, for sure. Grotesque.” Nonetheless, he apologized: “Anyway, here’s to ya Archie, Sorry mate.”
Early June 2019 – They Split From the Cambridge’s and Start Their Own Charity
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex went a step further in distancing themselves when they announced they would be parting from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in relation to their shared charity duties. They opted to set up their own charity foundation, with Kate and William renaming the original the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
They explained that this was more to do with the fact that William is expected to ascend the throne one day, making the Cambridge’s more “constitutionally constrained.” The Palace released this statement on the split: “These changes are designed to best complement the work and responsibilities of Their Royal Highnesses as they prepare for their future roles, and to better align their charitable activity with their new households.”
Late June 2019 – Expensive Home Renovations Anger the Public
The couple came under fire when the expected costs of their home renovations were revealed. Over $3 million of the taxpayer’s money was just too much for some to swallow. The cottage in Windsor was originally five separate homes that they turned into one large mansion.
It came around the same time that the Sovereign Grant (payment allowance given to the monarchy by the government to fund official expenses) for the year had amounted to over $85 million, over $25 million dollars more than the year before. Needless to say, British taxpayers weren’t happy and the couple received a lot of criticism.
July 2019 – Public Outrage at Archie’s Non-Traditional Baptism
Meghan and Harry broke from tradition yet again for Archie’s christening. While it was a private event, as it usually is for royals, they decided to keep hidden the identity of Archie’s godparents. The Palace released a statement saying: “The godparents, in keeping with their wishes, will remain private.”
This wasn’t met with enthusiasm by the British public. They were subject to much criticism online and in the press, who felt short-changed by the lack of information. People were quick to jump on the idea that Meghan and Harry are financially supported by the taxpayers of Britain but give them little in return.
Early August 2019 – The Couple Are Accused of Being Hypocrites
In an interview with primatologist Jane Goodall, Harry revealed his and Meghan’s decision to only have two children “maximum,” in order to limit human impact on the environment. Talking about the climate crisis he said: “What we need to remind everybody is: these are things that are happening now. We are already living in it. We are the frog in the water and it’s already been brought to the boil. Which is terrifying.”
It appeared to be a poorly-timed message. The press let loose on their apparent hypocrisy, as the couple were flying on private jets to and from their holiday vacations. To them, it was a necessary expense for safety reasons, but it was a fairly detrimental PR move.
Late August 2019 – They Choose Ibiza Over Balmoral With the Queen
The papers had been reporting that Harry and Meghan would join the Queen in Balmoral for the summer, along with rumors that Her Majesty wanted to throw the Duchess a birthday party at the historical site. The couple didn’t show up in the end, opting instead to holiday in Europe.
They flew to Ibiza, as well as the south of France to visit their friend Elton John. Their use of private jets to these leisurely locations didn’t do much for them either and only brought more controversy and discussion about their priorities.
Early September 2019 – Touring South Africa, They Admit to the Strain on Their Lives
During a tour of South Africa, the Sussex’s took part in a documentary where they spoke candidly bout their struggles. Meghan explains that she “really tried to adopt this sensibility of the British stiff upper lip, but I think that what that does internally is probably really damaging. I never thought this would be easy, but I thought it would be fair.”
Harry mirrored Meghan’s sentiments, asserting that, “I will not be bullied into playing a game that killed my mum. For me and my wife, of course, there’s a lot of stuff that hurts… especially when the majority of it is untrue.” He also revealed that he and Meghan had thought about the idea of living in Africa for a period, if only part-time.
Late September 2019 – Meghan Guest-Edits Vogue and Faces Criticisms
When it was announced that Meghan would guest-edit the September issue of British Vogue, it was met with both positive and negative reactions. It was discussed whether a royal family member should even be allowed to edit a magazine, even though this was something that many others had done before her.
The cover featured portraits of 15 different women who were hand-selected as “forces for change,” with articles inside the magazine that Meghan had commissioned. But Meghan’s supposed decision not to include the Queen on the cover was criticized and fed rumors about a growing rift between the Duchess and the Palace.
Early October 2019 – The Couple Launch an Attack Against the Press
The Mail on Sunday published a personal, handwritten letter that a young Meghan had sent to her father (pictured below) in October. Meghan responded by suing the newspaper, claiming that she had to “take action” in this unlawful instance against “relentless propaganda.” Harry also launched a verbal attack on the British press with some strongly worded words.
He revealed that his “deepest fear is history repeating itself,” adding, “I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditized to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person.”Speaking to Radio 4, he conceded that the tabloid press does hold less weight today than it did when his mother was alive.
Late October 2019 – They Take a Sabbatical From Royal Duties
In October, the documentary of the Sussex’s tour of South Africa was aired. The Duchess choked back the tears when she talked of her ordeal. Harry also revealed his revulsion towards paparazzi cameras and talked briefly about the “different paths” that he and his brother William are on.
The Duke and Duchess announced that they are going on a sabbatical and reports emerged about them feeling tired and burnt out. The palace released a statement that said: “The Duke and Duchess have a full schedule of engagements and commitments until mid-November, after which they will be taking some much-needed family time.”
November 2019 – They Opt for Christmas Away From the Royals
The couple officially announced that Christmas won’t be spent with the Queen or the other royals in Buckingham Palace or Sandringham. Instead, they would be taking a six-week holiday in Canada, as well as Thanksgiving in Los Angeles with Meghan’s mother. The Palace’s statement read: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are looking forward to extended family time towards the end of this month.”
It went on: “Having spent the last two Christmases at Sandringham, Their Royal Highnesses will spend the holiday this year, as a new family, with the Duchess’ mother Doria Ragland. This decision is in line with the precedent set previously by other members of the Royal Family, and has the support of Her Majesty The Queen.”
December 2019 – The Family Christmas Card Results in More Accusations Against Meghan
In December, the Sussex’s released their first Christmas card with baby Archie. But it also receives negative attention, as Meghan was accused of tinkering with the image in an untasteful way. People were claiming that Meghan sharpened the features in her face relative to the rest of the image so that she would stand out more.
Meghan denied the claims, and her friend who took the photograph, Janina Gavankar, posted the alleged original which she claimed had been tampered with. She captioned it: “Here’s the original that was sent out (cropped to fit IG.) And to The Mail, I see your campaign against my friend continues. Nice photoshop of my non-photoshopped image. Now may we all get back to the spirit of Christmas and not the spirit of maliciousness.”
January 7th, 2020 – The Palace Deny Major Announcements Are in the Pipeline
In Canada House, in London, the royal couple thanked the high commission for their time in Canada. They spoke of the “warm hospitality” they received during their Christmas break. And they certainly returned to the U.K. bearing large smiles and a more relaxed demeanor.
A journalist from the British magazine Vanity Fair asked Meghan and Harry’s PR team if their visit was a “prequel” to future plans. They responded saying that there isn’t a major announcement in the pipeline, making their ultimate decision more mystifying.
January 8th, 2020 – Harry and Meghan Announce They’re Stepping Down as Senior Royals
The next day, rumors grew about the couple wanting to relocate to Canada. When confronted with these claims, Buckingham Palace held its lip, refusing to give an answer. Later that day, the couple announced that they would be relinquishing their duties as “senior royals.”
In their announcement, they explained their wish to be financially independent of the Crown and intended to split their time between both the United Kingdom and North America. Their decision was met with shock worldwide, and even within the Palace itself. Rumors began to circulate that the Queen was not informed of the decision beforehand.
Early January 9th, 2020 – Queen Summons Royals for an Emergency Meeting
Once news of their decision had reached the Palace, the Queen quickly arranged for an emergency meeting between the senior Royals. In the Palace’s statement, they wrote “Discussions with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage. We understand their desire to take a different approach.”
They added that “these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.” It is understood that the Queen wished to discuss with the senior Royals what Harry and Meghan’s relationship with the family would look like going forward. As the BBC reported it, they said that the Palace’s tone was one of “disappointment” in the couple’s decision.
January 9th, 2020 – Meghan’s Step Sister Called The Decision a Slap In The Face
Among all the responses, Meghan’s estranged half-sister, Samantha also had her own opinions to share on the decision. On Thursday, following their announcement, she spoke with the press calling their decision “a slap in the face.” She elaborated saying, “I think what is shocking is the lack of consideration for the people involved.”
Samantha also accused her half-sister of “engaging in attention-getting behaviors.” In backing up her argument she said, “They stepped into the spotlight knowing what the duties were, knowing what the media would be like for them,” Samantha said. “If she wanted to be so private, she wouldn’t have sat at Wimbleton with 40 empty seats around her like a frame.”
Late January 9th, 2020 – Harry and Meghan Want to Keep Frogmore Cottage
Despite their big announcement, they wrote on their website that they intend on keeping their sprawling mansion in the country. They had, after all, only recently had it renovated with over $3 million of the British taxpayer’s money. Naturally, the papers didn’t take too kindly to this intention.
But the Queen and the Palace appeared to accept their wishes. They published this statement: “Frogmore Cottage will continue to be the property of Her Majesty the Queen. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will continue to use Frogmore Cottage – with the permission of Her Majesty The Queen – as their official residence as they continue to support the monarchy, and so that their family will always have a place to call home in the United Kingdom.”
January 10th, 2020 – Newspapers Inflate the Issues
As was to be expected, the newspapers blew up over the couple’s major announcement. A bigger issue was made out of the failure to warn the Queen or Buckingham Palace of the decision first, with tabloids reporting that her Royal Majesty was “dismayed,” “furious,” or “sad” upon receiving the news.
Such a reporting style had only intensified the matter more. The papers favored a negative story about the move, painting it out to be Harry and Meghan’s defiance to cooperate with the Royal family. People waited on tenterhooks to hear just what their intentions were.
January 12th, 2020 – News Circulates That They’re Only Cutting 5% of Income
The negative press attention only intensified over the next few days. Especially since the newspapers started to catch on to the fact that they may intend to only part with 5% of the income they’re receiving. They had outlined their wish to part with the Sovereign Grant and therefore alleviate royal duties, but that’s only a small percentage of their total income.
The couple receives 95% of their income from Prince Charles, who receives his from the Duchy of Cornwall, and it wasn’t stated that they plan to give any of it up. They were being called disingenuous for their selective opinion on what “independent” means, but time will tell what exactly their financial plans are.
Early January 13th, 2020 – Talks Occur at Sandringham Estate
The Royal crisis was discussed at the Queen’s Sandringham Estate in Norfolk shortly after Harry and Meghan’s announcement. The summit lasted two hours and consisted of Her Highness the Queen Majesty, Prince Charles, The Duke of Cambridge, and the Duke of Sussex.
It was also expected that while Meghan was not in the country, she would dial into the meeting remotely from Canada. The meeting took place inside Sandringham Estate’s Long Library room and, at the end of the summit, William and Harry were driven away from the grand house in separate cars.
January 13th, 2020 – Prince Harry and William Made a Rare Joint Statement
Rumors have recently circulated about a rift between brothers Prince Harry and Prince William. This past January 13th, they were adamant to set matters straight. A story, run by The Times, had inferred that the princes’ had experienced a falling out due to the Duke of Cambridge (aka Prince William) not being friendly toward Harry’s wife, Meghan.
The joint statement read, “Despite clear denials, a false story ran in a UK newspaper today speculating about the relationship between The Duke of Sussex and The Duke of Cambridge,” began the statement. “For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful.”
Late January 13th, 2020 – Queen Releases a Statement
The Queen released a statement after the meeting in which she announced her support for the couple. She wrote, “Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family.” She explained: “My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family,” admitting that “we would have preferred them to remain full-time working members of the Royal Family.”
Nonetheless, they “respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family” as “Harry and Meghan have made clear that they do not want to be reliant on public funds.” She recognized that there needs to be a period of transition, in which the Sussex’s would split their time between the UK and Canada. She finishes by saying: “There is some more work to be done, but I have asked for final decisions to be reached in the coming days.”
Early January 14th, 2020 – The World Learns That Meghan Didn’t Dial-In
The tabloids report that Meghan didn’t, in fact, call into the summit and Sandringham Estate at all. The source of the information is not confirmed, but rumors still began to spread. Meghan was in Canada while Harry was present at the summit, and allegedly the Palace didn’t think it was necessary for her to join.
Such rumors only add to the growing speculation that Meghan has not been fully accepted as a member of the Royal household. That, or she really has been looking to move out of the royal circle. Either way, it is true that she didn’t accompany Harry back to the U.K. after their sabbatical in Canada.
Late January 14th – Meghan Is All Smiles in First Sighting Since the News
The first sighting of the Duchess was almost a week after her and Harry’s shock announcement. She was pictured boarding a small seaplane from Victoria Harbour Airport, where she was finally leaving the $14 million Canadian house that she and Harry had spent their Christmas in.
She left in order to pay a visit to the Downtown Eastside Women’s Center in Vancouver, to “discuss issues affecting the community,” the shelter reported. But she looked in good spirits – she hadn’t let the recent negative press affect her too much, or she’s looking forward to a more independent future!
Early January 15th – We See Meghan Back to Work
The next day, we awoke to find pictures of the Duchess out and meeting people at the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre in Vancouver. “She was very interested in what goes on for women in this community, who we all know are marginalized women who’ve faced many challenges and barriers to their wellbeing,” the acting executive director later explained.
“She was interested, she was informed, she had great questions, followed up with questions on things that the staff had spoken about,” the director continued. But it didn’t take long for rumors to surface about the Duchess setting up the meeting last minute. The shelter’s manager later confirmed that Meghan had only given them one day’s notice.
January 15th, 2020 – Harry Focused His Attention on His Love for Sports
Amid the drama of Harry and Meghan’s bold decision, Harry also had other important issues on his mind. On the Wednesday following their announcement, Harry shared some exciting news with his followers via Instagram.
Prince Harry announced that the 2022 Invictus Games will be hosted in Düsseldorf, Germany. In his post, Harry exclaimed, “I hope everyone in Germany is ready for what will be an incredible week of sport!” Clearly he holds these games very close to his heart. This was Harry’s first media appearance since he broke the news about leaving his duties as a royal behind him.
January 15th, 2020 – Canada’s Biggest Newspaper Heeds a Warning to the Couple
The Globe and Mail, Canada’s biggest newspapers had some choice words for the Duke and Duchess, who were looking to split their time between the U.K. and Canada. They wrote: “Canada is not a halfway house for anyone looking to get out of Britain while remaining a royal.”
They continued: “Princes are not shipped over here when no useful duties can be found for them on the other side of the Atlantic.” They added that “This country’s unique monarchy, and its delicate yet essential place in our constitutional system, means that a royal resident – the prince is sixth in the line of succession – is not something that Canada can allow. It breaks an unspoken constitutional taboo.” Ouch.
Late January 15th, 2020 – William and Kate Continue Their Duties
The model Royals got back to their public duties on the 15th. They visited the city of Bradford to see “a number of projects which support the community and promote cohesion within it,” according to their press release. They seemed in good, positive spirits throughout, dodging questions about Harry and Meghan.
During their visit, the couple stopped in for a fun milkshake making lesson, where Kate and Will got behind the counter of MyLahore restaurant. The Pakistan-inspired restaurant talked the couple through the process before they chugged down their milkshake creations. Finally, some positive news about the royals was starting to come around.
January 16th, 2020 – Harry Is Seen for the First Time at a Royal Engagement
A couple of days after Meghan’s public outing, Harry attends a royal engagement of his own. It was a “highly orchestrated Buckingham Palace event,” the Daily Mail reported, where he mentioned nothing about the recent announcement that was made. He was visiting a rugby league event ahead of the 2021 World Cup.
He seemed more serious in the morning, before lightening up and breaking out into smiles and banter when watching children play tag-rugby on the Queen’s lawn. He joked with one of the kids, “Look after the grass though, yeah? Otherwise, I’ll get in trouble.” We can understand why he might be wary of that!
Mid-January 2020 – the Public Weigh In
It’s only half-way through the first month of 2020 and so much had happened for the Royal family. With such unexpected drama, people took to social media to voice their opinions on Megxit. On Twitter, there was a mix between positive, congratulatory messages, as well as more negative and critical responses.
One person wrote “I’d leave my entire family for Meghan Markle too if I had the option,” while another wrote, “In years to come, Meghan Markle will be known as the person who brought down the monarchy.” Positive or negative, it seemed that the general consensus was that Meghan was engineering their exit.
January 18th, 2020 – The Queen Releases Her Follow up Statement
As promised in her initial statement, she followed up with another public announcement on Harry and Meghan’s decision. She writes: “Following many months of conversations, I am pleased that together we have found a constructive and supportive way forward for my grandson and his family.” This came as quite a shock, as it suggests that the Royals were aware of Harry and Meghan’s decision long ago.
The Queen reiterates that Harry, Meghan, and Archie will “always be much-loved members of my family” and that she supports “their wish for a more independent life.” She also gives a special mention to the Duchess: ” [I am] particularly proud of how Meghan has so quickly become one of the family.” The statement as a whole emphasized closeness and prioritized her family’s wellness.
January 18th, 2020 – The Queen Recognises Harry and Meghan’s Troubles
The Queen showed her empathy towards her grandson and his wife in her public statement. She writes: “I recognize the challenges they have experienced,” confirming that the intense press coverage of their life has been a major factor in their decision to step down.
She also points out the contributions they have made in the short few months as senior royals. She writes that the couple will continue to honor “the commonwealth and beyond,” reminding us of the integral position they held and the work they carried out.
January 18th, 2020 – the Queen Leaves the Door Open for Harry and Meghan
In the Queen’s statement, she also points out that Frogmore Cottage “will remain their U.K. family home.” Harry and Meghan announced that they wish to make North America their main location, in order to live a more independent life. But the Queen’s wording leaves room for change.
While it seems unlikely at the moment, the vagueness of calling it “their U.K. home” means that how much time they spend here and there, remains to be decided. Either way, as the cottage is owned by the Queen, she is showing her support for their decision to move away by keeping the home for them.
January 18th, 2020 – Harry and Meghan’s Response to Her Majesty
In their follow-up statement, the Sussex’s outline that they will be dropping their HRH (Her/His Royal Highness) titles, but keeping “Harry, Duke of Sussex,” and “Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.” They reiterated that they will be “embarking on a new chapter” in their lives, drawing a clear line between their previous life as Royals.
They will still retain their private patronages and associations, “With the Queen’s blessing.” They added that “While they can no longer formally represent the Queen, the Sussexes have made clear that everything they do will continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty.” Despite their shift in roles, Harry and Meghan stress that the relationship with the Queen would remain on good terms.
January 18th, 2020 – Harry and Meghan Satisfy Critics by Paying Back Cottage Renovations
In the statement, the couple also mentions that it is their intention to payback for the $3 million refurbishments to their Frogmore countryside cottage. They had received a lot of negative publicity about the expensive costs even when they were senior Royals. It makes sense that they see it as necessary for their image to pay out of their own pocket now that they wish to step down and keep the home.
The statement reads: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have shared their wish to repay Sovereign Grant expenditure for the refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, which will remain their UK family home.” It came out of British taxpayer’s money to support the then-working Royals.
January 18th, 2020 – Harry Loses All His Military Positions
As part of their move away from the senior Royal life, Prince Harry is forced to drop all of his numerous military positions. The statement’s official words were: “As agreed in this new arrangement, they understand that they are required to step back from royal duties, including official military appointments.”
Harry will no longer be the Captain-General of the Royal Marines, Honorary Air Commandant of RAF Honington and Commodore-in-Chief of the Small Ships and Diving, Royal Naval Command. Alongside this, his title as a Commonwealth Youth Ambassador will also be stripped.
January 2020 – High-Profile Celebs Back the Royal U-Turn
It seems that not everyone has it in for the Duke and Duchess. They received positive messages from celebs who publicly came out in support of their decision to break away as senior royals. After all, they rub some pretty famous shoulders in their social circle, including close friend Serena Williams. Actress and comedian Tiffany Haddish was the latest to stand up for their choice.
Appearing on Watch What Happens Live, she was asked about what she thought of their resignation, she responded: “I think they’re wonderful, and whatever the decision is, we have to respect it.” About Meghan, in particular, she said, “She’s really gorgeously humble and caring. That’s how we do it in South Central LA, baby! She come from them Baldwin Hills!”
January 18th, 2020 – Meghan’s Father Launches a TV Attack
In an unexpected twist of events, Meghan’s father Thomas Markle launched an astonishing attack on the young couple and their decision to step down. He says: “When they got married they took on an obligation, and the obligation is to be part of the Royals and to represent the Royals. And it would be foolish for them not to.”
He continues: “This is one of the greatest long-living institutions ever. They are destroying it, they are cheapening it, making it shabby… they shouldn’t be doing this.” Such harsh words came as a huge shock to the public, and no doubt Meghan and Harry. It is understood that he hasn’t spoken to his daughter since before their wedding.
January 18th, 2020 – Meghan’s Father Calls Them “Embarrassing”
He didn’t stop there. Meghan’s father had some more choice words for the couple, adding: “With Meghan and Harry separating from the Royals… it’s disappointing because she actually got every girl’s dream. Every young girl wants to become a princess and she got that and now she’s tossing that away… it looks like she’s tossing that away for money.”
He continues to rain criticism on them: “Apparently $3 million and a 26-room home isn’t enough for them… it is kind of embarrassing to me.” Acknowledging that his relationship with his estranged daughter seems beyond repair, he added, “I think both of them are turning into lost souls at this point. I don’t know what they’re looking for. I don’t think they know what they are looking for.”
January 18th, 2020 – Meghan Starts to Live Normally Again
On the 18th of January, Meghan showed the world that she’s resuming some aspects of her life before royalty. She drove out to pick up her long-time friend, pilates instructor Heather Dorak, from the airport in Vancouver. It is understood that she flew out just to support Meghan, and gave her an enthusiastic greeting before getting in her car.
While Meghan was driving the vehicle, she wasn’t left completely alone. She had her bodyguard in the passenger seat but looked at ease and all-smiles. It seemed clear that Meghan had already started easing back into civilian life.
January 19th, 2020 – Press Uncover Harry’s Revealing Joke
After digging around in the archives, the tabloids found footage of Harry and Meghan joking with movie director Jon Favreau about getting Meghan some extra work on the side. Below we see the pair sharing smiles with superstars, Beyonce and Jay-Z, whom they ran into at the premiere of The Lion King in July 2019.
“If anyone needs any extra voiceover work…” Harry mumbled before Meghan playfully interjects, “That’s really why we’re here – it’s the pitch!” Harry follows up by adding “… just not Scar.” We couldn’t agree more – the last thing Meghan needs at the moment is to be cast as a movie villain.
January 19th, 2020 – Growing Distance Between the Queen and Archie
On the 19th of January, the papers opened up discussions about the Queen and her relationship with Archie. What becomes of their relationship when Archie spends most of his time living in North America? Why didn’t she attend his Christening in July 2019? And does she fear he’ll lose his connection with the family, with so much distance between them?
It is being asserted that she is “very sad” at the prospects and that she has “barely seen” Archie since his birth on the 6th of May 2019. Baring in mind that he also wasn’t with Her Majesty for his first Christmas as he was in North America, people are starting to ask questions about what will be in the future.
January 19th, 2020 – Archie’s Secret Godparents Are Revealed
Two of Harry and Meghan’s chosen godparents to baby Archie were revealed on the 19th of January. One of them is Mark Dyer, who worked as equerry to Prince Charles (i.e. the officer to a Royal who is in charge over the stables.) Mark was also a minder to Prince Harry in his youth.
The other godparent was revealed to be Tiggy Pettifer, Harry and William’s trusted former long-term nanny. As constant parental figures in his life as he was growing, he obviously grew close relationships with these two guardians and trusts them with Archie.
January 19th, 2020 – Netflix Chief Confirms Interest in Working With Meghan and Harry
Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, confirmed that he would be interested in working with Harry and Meghan in an upcoming production. Coming after footage was found of them joking with The Lion King director Jon Favreau about getting Meghan some voice over work, the public continues to wonder what lies in store for the “independent” couple.
He retorted, “Who wouldn’t be interested? Yes, sure,” when asked directly about the young Royals. It has been noted that, should they wish to take up his offer, they would be treading familiar ground, as the Obama’s recently hopped on board with Netflix film and television projects.
January 19th, 2020 – Meghan’s BFF Misha Nonoo Teases About a Special Upcoming Collaboration
Women fashion designer Misha Nonoo is known as a close friend of the Duchess and touched down on Toronto on the 19th. On the same day, she teased her Instagram followers on social media, beckoning them to guess what “special collaboration” she has planned, could be.
Meghan already helps promote her “Husband Shirt” on her brand’s website, which she wore at her first public appearance with Prince Harry. They also teamed up for the Smart Works charity clothing collection in the past, so the chances of a fashion collaboration between the BFFs wouldn’t be far off.
January 19th, 2020 – Prince Harry Finally Talks
Prince Harry gave a surprisingly emotional speech at a dinner for his charity Sentebale, which he founded in 2006. He said, “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,” explaining their decision to step down.
He asserts that this wasn’t their original plan: “Once Meghan and I were married, we were excited. We were hopeful and we were here to serve. For those reasons it brings me great sadness that it has come to this.” It was a shock for many to hear that he is begrudgingly leaving his Royal status behind.
January 19th, 2020 – Harry claims they want to serve the Queen without public funding
Prince Harry wanted to make clear that he and Meghan were not running from responsibilities: “We’re not walking away and we certainly aren’t walking away from you. Our hope was to continue serving the queen, the commonwealth and my military associations but without public funding.”
The words about public funding were questionable, as you will come to see later in the article. Nonetheless, he declared that “I will continue to be the same man who holds his country dear and dedicates his life to supporting the causes, charities and military communities that are so important to me.” The speech came more from his individual perspective than from the couple as a unit.
January 20th, 2020 – Prince Charles and U.K. Taxpayers Will Still Pay Them Millions
News came out on the 20th that the British taxpayers will have to foot out the annual £7.6 million (almost $10 million) security bill, despite stepping down as senior Royals. There also wasn’t mention of this in the Palace’s official statement or the Duke and Duchess’s. Chris Matthews, an ex-Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman who has guarded the Royals abroad, estimates their annual security bill to rival that of the Prime Minister.
At the same time, it’s becoming understood that Prince Charles will be supporting the couple through his own private investment income. Expect to see future use of the “Sussex Royal” brand, which Harry and Meghan were given license to expand. But the Queen is known to be sensitive about the broad use of royal credentials, so time will tell how the brand develops.
January 20th, 2020 – Growing Discussions on Whether Meghan Is Set to Portray Herself in Netflix Drama
Actor Josh O’Connor has spoken out about how suitable he thinks Meghan would be in Netflix’s The Crown. He asserted that she would be “brilliant” alongside his costars, like Helena Bonham Carter. His words were: “I’m sure she could do that brilliantly, if anyone could. But I feel like we’re certainly not going to be there when they do.”
When asked in an interview with Entertainment Tonight about what role would suit her best, he replied, “I’m sure she could [play herself].” He also claimed to have heard that she intends to return to acting. People’s reactions on Twitter were fairly supportive of this idea, with one user joking that “the script for The Crown basically writes itself at this point.” We couldn’t agree more!
January 20th, 2020 – Harry and William Attempt to Patch Things Up
Tabloids reported that the Prince’s attempted to smooth things over in a private meeting. Rumors of a growing rift between them have been circulating for months. With Harry’s move to North America with Meghan, it’s been expected that they would only drift further apart.
Tabloids asserted that they met to sort things out before he took a flight out to Canada as it’s “now [or] they never would.” It is also alleged that things were not smoothed over as easily with their father, Prince Charles, and the public are left continuing to speculate about the Royal men.
January 20th, 2020 – Harry Carries out His Final Duty Before Flight to Canada
January 20th was the last day he had to attend to one of his Royal duties before boarding a plane to Canada. He hosted meetings with the presidents of different states for a UK-Africa Investment Summit, held in Greenwich, London.
This public outing came just after his heartfelt farewell speech given at a private dinner for a charity. It consisted of more formal meetings alongside informal chats, having no “Palace aides” or No. 10 security men present to keep the contents of their catch-ups private. He was warm and in good spirits, but seemed ready to make his way out of England and into North America.
January 20th, 2020 – Meghan Gets a Fresh Serving of Criticism as She Waits for Harry
The Duchess could hardly contain her excitement at being reunited with Prince Harry. She takes the dogs, and eight-month-old Archie, for a walk in the park, carrying her son in a baby carrier. While she spotted the Paparazzi in the distance, she didn’t let it disturb her morning.
However, Meghan was at the receiving end of much online criticism for the way she fastened baby Archie into the carrier. People on Twitter were complaining that Archie didn’t look securely positioned, with some users declaring him uncomfortable or ready to fall out.
January 20th, 2020 – William and Kate Host Their First State Occasion Alone
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge proved themselves to be the real stars of the Royal family. They independently hosted a reception for various world leaders while the Queen was absent. Despite being a challenging time for their family, Will and Kate attended to their state duties as normally as possible.
The event was also likely set up this way to prove that the Royal family is still in control, and busy serving the country. It was a statement to say that even though Harry and Meghan are pulling back from responsibilities, William and Kate are at the forefront and holding down the fort.
January 21st, 2020 – William Holds the Fort in England as Harry Lands in Canada
Harry finally boarded a plane to Vancouver to begin his more independent life with Meghan and Archie. Leaving by the back staircase of the plane, he and his various security personnel snuck into a blacked-out car and drove away.
All the while, a tired-looking Prince William was left to speak alone at the United for Wildlife Taskforces meeting in St. James’ Palace, London. It was founded by both the brothers in 2014 but, it is now William’s responsibility to keep afloat.