Meghan Markle and Prince Harry dropped a bombshell this afternoon: They’re stepping back from their senior royal family roles and becoming financially independent royal family members. The announcement also created a lot of questions, some of which Meghan and Harry generously answered on the funding page of their SussexRoyal.com site.
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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
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Here, the most pressing questions, answered. You can read Meghan and Harry’s full Q&A guide here.
Are Meghan and Harry quitting the royal family entirely?
No. Per their site: “As they step back as senior members of the Royal Family and no longer receive funding through the Sovereign Grant, they will become members of the Royal Family with financial independence which is something they look forward to.”
Are Meghan and Harry giving up their royal titles?
No, their Duke and Duchess of Sussex titles remain used heavily on their site, and they have made no indication they are relinquishing their HRH titles at this point.
Can Meghan act again? Will they still do work on behalf of the Queen?
Once Meghan and Harry are financially independent of the Queen, yes, technically, she and Harry can both take on other paying jobs, so Meghan can do movies and TV again if she wants to. She has not announced any plans to, though.
And yes, Meghan and Harry will still do some work on behalf of the Queen. As they explained on their site of why they’re making this move: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex take great pride in their work and are committed to continuing their charitable endeavors as well as establishing new ones. In addition, they value the ability to earn a professional income, which in the current structure they are prohibited from doing. For this reason they have made the choice to become members of the Royal Family with financial independence. Their Royal Highnesses feel this new approach will enable them to continue to carry out their duties for Her Majesty The Queen, while having the future financial autonomy to work externally. While the contribution from The Sovereign Grant covers just five percent of costs for The Duke and Duchess and is specifically used for their official office expense, Their Royal Highnesses prefer to release this financial tie.”
What will happen to Meghan and Harry’s patronages?
They’ll retain them. They aren’t cutting ties with the monarchy. As they put it: “As working members of the Royal Family, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain dedicated to maximizing Her Majesty’s legacy both in the UK and throughout the Commonwealth. They will continue to proudly do so by supporting their patronages and carrying out works for The Monarchy within the UK or abroad, as called upon.”
What is this Sovereign Grant thing?
Ninety-five percent of Meghan and Harry’s office has been funded up to this point by an allowance Prince Charles gives them from his Duchy of Cornwall estate profits. That final five percent comes from the Sovereign Grant that’s UK taxpayer-supplied. As Meghan and Harry put it, “the annual funding mechanism of the monarchy that covers the work of the Royal Family in support of HM The Queen including expenses to maintain official residences and workspaces. In this exchange, The Queen surrenders the revenue of the Crown Estate and in return, a portion of these public funds are granted to The Sovereign/The Queen for official expenditure.” Other senior royal family members (Kate Middleton, Prince William, etc.) also receive funding from it. It costs each taxpayer “approximately £1 per head per year,” per Meghan and Harry’s site.
Are Meghan and Harry going to still live in Frogmore Cottage?
The two will be splitting their time between North America and the UK. But if the Queen lets them, yes. As they put it, “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.”
Who will cover Harry and Meghan’s future travel costs?
Meghan and Harry will continue to finance their own private travel, but it remains unclear who will pay for travel costs associated with public duty. The two are committed to using commercial methods: As they explained, “Wherever possible and unless advised otherwise on security grounds, their logistical arrangements are undertaken via commercial air carriers, local trains and fuel-efficient vehicles, be it for official or personal travel.”
Will Harry and Meghan still do royal tours for the Queen?
All signs point to yes. The two answered a question about why they carry out official overseas visits and who pays for it. They said: “The Duke and Duchess proudly carry out official overseas visits in support of Her Majesty The Queen at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), as is the case for all members of the Royal Family. The length and location of these tours are determined by the FCO and the Royal Visits Committee. All Official overseas visits are in support of Her Majesty’s Government’s objectives and paid for by The Sovereign Grant as well as contributions from the host country, when appropriate.”
Will they still have security?
Yes, it’s mandated. The two are “classified as internationally protected people which mandates this level of security.” What’s less clear is who will pay for it. The two quoted gov.uk, which explains who pays for armed security is purposely not detailed for safety.
“No breakdown of security costs is available as disclosure of such information could compromise the integrity of these arrangements and affect the security of the individuals protected,” Gov.uk wrote. “It is long established policy not to comment upon the protective security arrangements and their related costs for members of the Royal Family or their residences.”
This article originally appeared on ELLE US.