The big announcement in January! 1
On January 8, Harry and Meghan's official Instagram account posted this picture with a message that begins: “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."
They also shared where they will be living. 2
"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," they continued.
They believe the new arrangement will benefit Archie. 3
"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," they explained.
But the future seems unclear and confusing. 5
Confusing because there are so many rules associated with the monarchy. Confusing because who knew that you could even quit? Confusing because this new path that Harry's family is taking seems like it's never been taken before or at least has never been taken this publicly before.
Their last day as senior royals is quickly approaching. 6
According to a spokesperson for the Sussexes, Harry and Meghan's last official day as "working" royals will be March 31. For the past year, they have had an office in Buckingham Palace, and that office will close on March 31.
They will begin their new lives without funding from the Sovereign Grant. 7
Here's a brief explanation of what the Sovereign Grant from the official Royal Family website: "The Sovereign Grant is the funding provided to support the official duties of The Queen and maintain the Occupied Royal Palaces. It also includes a dedicated amount to fund the ten-year Reservicing of Buckingham Palace."
They will be free to earn their own money. 8
On their website, Harry and Meghan explain that "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."
In other words, they won't be "working" members of the royal family, but they will be working. 9
Now that they will no longer be working for the royal family so to speak, they will be free to get jobbie jobs and get paid. Here's how it is explained on their website: "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." Does that mean Meghan will go back to acting? Probably not, but we can dream.
This is all on a trial basis. 11
The royal family and the couple are going to review the situation after 12 months to see if the arrangement is working out for everyone. Interesting, interesting. That means that they are sort of taking a leave of absence instead of a permanent leave.
Their relationship with the media will change. 12
It's no secret that Prince Harry has not been happy with the way Meghan has been treated by the media and British tabloids in particular. As senior members of the royal family, they have to participate in the Royal Rota. The Royal Rota is a kind of pool of media outlets that get exclusive opportunities to cover events involving the royal family. As of April 1, the couple will no longer have to abide by the Royal Rota system and will have finally have the freedom to communicate with the media as they see fit.
What makes the Royal Rota system so confining? 13
Under the Royal Rota system, it is expected "that if Their Royal Highnesses were to release a photo that has never been seen, they would be expected to give the image to The Rota (of which four of the seven are UK tabloids) simultaneously or in advance of their own release." Failure to do so results in "long term repercussions."
Will they still be on social media? 14
Absolutely, but it looks like they will have to call it something other than @sussexroyal, and we'll all have to wait and see how they rebrand. It will be really interesting to see what they share now that they don't have to follow Royal Rota protocol. We want more baby Archie pics!
They will keep their royal titles but will not use them. 15
As far as their titles of His and Her Royal Highnesses (HRH), they will still get to keep the HRH, but they won't be using them because they won't be appearing as "senior" members of the royal family anymore.
Harry will keep his military ranks as well, but not use them. 16
During the 12-month trial, Harry will keep his military ranks, which are Major, Lieutenant Commander, and Squadron Leader, but he won’t be performing any official duties associated with those military ranks. It's unclear if the ranks will be taken away after the 12-month trial period.
But it's totally not personal. 18
If you think that they are being asked to stop using the term “royal” as a sort of punishment from Queen Elizabeth, that’s not the case. "Although this may seem personal against Harry and Meghan it simply boils down to royal protocol," ABC News royal contributor Omid Scobie said. "As non-working members of the royal family it means that they can’t use the word royal in any of their work moving forward."
How will rebranding affect them? 19
It might not seem like a big deal for Meghan and Harry to have to stop using @sussexroyal on Instagram, their official website, and so forth, but they have invested quite a bit of time, effort, and money into building that brand. They have even filed trademark applications for products they have created using that name. The trademark applications were filed so that others couldn’t just use the name with impunity. Now they have to chuck it all and start with a new name.
A round of applause for the couple's courage. 20
It's not easy to break with tradition, but they are doing what they believe to be best for their family. We wish them success. We can't wait to see how they shake things up now that they will no longer be so obligated to follow so many traditions and rules.
The couple are eyeing properties to purchase in California. 21
The couple was said to eyeing homes in both the US and Canada since they left the UK, and now that they have left Canada, their next move is finding some prime real estate in California. The pair is reportedly eyeing a $20 million mansion in Malibu that is owned by Baywatch star David Charvet and his ex-wife Brooke Burke.
They are official California residents. 22
The couple moved to California at the end of March 2020, and their move to the States raised concerns about who would be footing the bill for their security. The couple was said to be hiring a private company to look after their family, but they made it clear that they would not be asking the government to pay for it.
The couple said goodbye to their Instagram account. 23
The couple had established their @sussexroyal Instagram account separate from Prince William and Kate Middleton's @kensingtonroyal account, but in March they revealed they wouldn't be using it after their time as royals came to an end. "As we all find the part we are to play in this global shift and changing of habits, we are focusing this new chapter to understand how we can best contribute," they captioned the post. "While you may not see us here, the work continues. Thank you to this community - for the support, the inspiration and the shared commitment to the good in the world. We look forward to reconnecting with you soon. You’ve been great! Until then, please take good care of yourselves, and of one another. Harry and Meghan."