Royal No More: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Resign Their “HRH” Titles, Will Receive No Money From The Crown, And Will Not Engage On Behalf Of The Queen

Prince Harry & Meghan Markle's Afghanistan Statement is in Stark Contrast With the Royal Family's Response

Harry and Meghan have it their way, or, perhaps, everybody is having it the Queen’s way: Full abdication of the couple’s royal status and duties.

It was announced midway through the London dinner hour on Saturday. The His or Her Royal Highness styling will not be used by Harry or Meghan Markle, nor will it be attached to them.Royal No More: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Resign Their “HRH” Titles Will Receive No Money From The Crown And Will Not Engage On Behalf Of The Queen

Left purposefully unclear by the Buckingham Palace press release is whether they have actually been stripped of it — it’s assumed that they haven’t actually quite yet been stripped of royal status.

But either way, the HRH will not be used by the couple and should not be in play as they pursue their commercial lives and eventual self-sustenance.Royal No More: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Resign Their “HRH” Titles Will Receive No Money From The Crown And Will Not Engage On Behalf Of The Queen

So shorn, or depending upon the gauge, three-quarters shorn, the couple now enter civilian life – not that they were ever truly ‘civilians,’ nor is it the case that the lives they will lead will approach any level of normalcy.

Perhaps the Queen’s phrasing in the first of her extraordinary public dispatches last week best embraces the new reality: They will attain a measure of independence from the Crown.Royal No More: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Resign Their “HRH” Titles Will Receive No Money From The Crown And Will Not Engage On Behalf Of The Queen

The first sign that something was up on Saturday was what didn’t happen: Harry didn’t fly back to Toronto after his official engagement at Buckingham Palace hosting the Rugby League draw. Friday passed quietly.

There was a quiet note this morning out of London that Harry had stayed over to complete some negotiations. Royal No More: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Resign Their “HRH” Titles Will Receive No Money From The Crown And Will Not Engage On Behalf Of The Queen

The coursing dogs of the British royal-watching press — roiling down the streets and across the greens in packs keen to catch a scent — nevertheless assumed that they had the weekend off.

But the Queen had a different idea, and, over the last years, Buckingham Palace has become quite good at managing the baying hounds on the royals’ trail with the occasional news ambush in the off hours. Royal No More: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Resign Their “HRH” Titles Will Receive No Money From The Crown And Will Not Engage On Behalf Of The Queen

Although there was by Saturday’s cocktail hour — an important hour in the Fleet Street week — still no report of Harry on a plane to his wife and son, not many expected that anything of substance would be delivered before Monday.

Then, the bomb that had been long bruited about but that nobody still believed would come to pass was announced: Prince Harry’s abdicating. Harry will in fact follow through, chuck it in, and be no longer royal. Royal No More: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Resign Their “HRH” Titles Will Receive No Money From The Crown And Will Not Engage On Behalf Of The Queen

Although the tabula rasa surrender of royal rank was certainly in plain sight all along as an option out, it remains most rare in British history, and weirdly unexpected.

The main details of the deal have also been announced. The couple will keep Frogmore House, a gift to them from the Queen, but will repay the public for the approximately $3 million it took to renovate the house.

They will, also, as of now, perform no royal engagements on behalf of the Queen, although they will continue their work for their own charities and programs, such as Harry’s Sentebale and Invictus Games work.

Formally, they will still be styled as Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, which are non-royal titles of the peerage bestowed upon them by the Queen.

And they will continue — at least for now — to be supported financially by Charles, as William and his family are.

Technically, as a duke, Harry is still of the peerage. It wouldn’t be impossible for him to become a member of the House of Lords, but, given that the substance of this move is the laying down of royal duty, not to mention the physical move to Canada, it’s unlikely that he would want to replace his hard-won freedom by stepping into the muck of parliamentary work. He’s got a brand to build, royal or not.

At this writing the @sussexroyal Instagram account still is so entitled, but it is not clear that this is a violation of the couple’s agreement with the Queen.

Obviously, left unclear is when and how the couple will begin to support themselves, but it’s safe to assume that the intense flurry of pre-Canada trademarking that was done on their behalf around the “Sussex Royal” brand may now have to be re-thought.

Or at least recast, so as not to infringe or impinge on the quite extensive legal implications of the extensive royal status that they are giving up.

Essentially, with the still somehow surprising clean sweep of the table, Harry will be greatly missed in the royal mix.

He will still be as much in the public eye — in the sense of his rarity as a non-royal royal being exacerbated by his abdication — much as his great-uncle the Duke of Windsor was in his later years, although the comparison is unfair, since the Duke of Windsor abdicated on a greater, more history-shaking scale.

Harry’s journey toward this moment is more of an intramural, national one. At home, meaning, in England, he brought the British precious few years of his charmingly impulsive, relaxed, athletic skills to the royal stage. But as a humanizing presence on the grander royal occasions, he simply won’t be there.

As the rock-steady presiding monarch-cum-crisis manager, the Queen promptly issued an elegantly crisp statement this evening.

It covered all the bases with great ease, and managed at the same time to be more than a little elegaic, acknowledging her personal sadness at the state of affairs via gentle expressions of her hope.

Then, after piping her grandson off-board from the bridge, so to speak, she returned to her position at the wheel.

As very few of us are able to do at any juncture of life, it appears that the Queen has reached quite an elevated Zen level of acceptance of Harry’s decision.

That literary accomplishment within four short paragraphs will be a balm to her subjects. Her statement read:

‘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. 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.

‘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.’

Buckingham Palace accompanied this rare personal dispatch from the Queen, her second in a week, with a more formal statement detailing the shape of the deal.

This included, especially, Harry’s withdrawal from military ceremonial duties, and stated the couple’s desire to repay the public coffers for the cost of the renovation of Frogmore House.

In a sign of the bracing momentum that the Queen and Charles brought to the negotiations, the events adhered more or less fully to the Queen’s timetable of “days, not weeks.”

It’s a tribute to the senior negotiators/courtiers and to their employers that the cut was this clean. Remaining on the table simply because it will take considerably more hammering out is the issue of security for Harry and his family.

In fact, the issue — already large — has grown in depth and complexity with tonight’s announcement. Basically, just because Harry has renounced his royal status does not mean that he, or his outgoing wife, have become less valuable targets for the many malicious miscreants of the world.

Rather, the opposite. Quite aside from any discussion about who should or should not be footing the bill, the strength and continuity of the cordon around the couple will have to remain firm.

There remains, also, just the barest whiff of a whisper of a question as to whether the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were actually prepared to give up the perks of the royal HRH.

That did not seem to be an overt part of the thinking behind the initial bomb-drop of the @sussexroyal Instagram post claim that they wanted to “carve” out new roles for themselves “within this institution,” meaning, the monarchy.

But clearly, over the last week, the deep research carried out by the principals of the Crown and their aides, with the final sign-off being from the Queen, made the title- and status-surrender inevitable.

Bluntly put, Prince Harry’s and Meghan Markle’s freedom has been valued by the Crown, and bought by them, at that price. It’s too late for buyer’s regret now.


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