Meghan Markle and Prince Harry announced last week that they were looking to take a “step back” from their roles as senior members of the British Royal Family. The couple, who married in 2018 and had a son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten Windsor, last year, have decided that they would like to step back from their duties and split their time between Britain and North America in a bid to become more “financially independent.” But how will this decision affect the rest of the royals?
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are giving up their roles as senior royals, and their design is set to change the dynamic of the Royal Family as Britons know it.
Now that the couple is planning to give up their status as senior royals, it’s worth looking at how this would change not only their lives but the dynamic of the British Royal Family.
In their official statement, Harry and Meghan said they planned to “honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages.”
But considering the fact the couple plan to become financially independent while successfully launching their own charity, they may not perform their charitable endeavors on behalf of the Queen in the same way as before.
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Therefore some of their royal duties could be very well passed to other members of the family.
The royal family carries out more than 2,000 official engagements throughout the UK and the world every year, according to its official website.
As senior royals, Harry and Meghan, along with Prince William and Kate Middleton, are responsible for many of these.
When it comes to the charities they support, each senior royal has a focus. Kate Middleton’s is early childhood development, while Prince William’s is mental health. For Harry, it’s environmental causes, and for Meghan, it’s gender equality.
The royal expert Joe Little has suggested the couple won’t be able to carry out these roles in the same way as they used to.
“This is uncharted territory, but if they were to withdraw from public life, then the organizations with which they are associated in various capacities would be reallocated to other members of the royal family,” Joe Little, the managing editor of Majesty magazine, said.
Members of the British royal court, such as The Queen’s granddaughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, are likely to be tasked with extra duties, Kate Disick, royal expert, and blogger told Express.co.uk.
“Princess Beatrice and Eugenie chose to pursue professional careers rather than work as a full-time members of the royal family, but since Meghan and Harry’s decision to ‘step back’ I wouldn’t be surprised if we start seeing them be more active in the family,” the expert explained.
“Both princesses have basic royal responsibilities such as attending some events like royal weddings, but neither princess carries out direct duties on behalf of the Queen. This could, however, change.
“With Meghan and Harry’s departure, naturally, the extra duties would fall to Prince William and Kate, but with their already hectic schedules, and their brood of children to look after, it could be too much for them to handle at this time.”
Although the York sisters are part of the Royal Family, they are not held accountable to the same rules such as the senior members, meaning that they are entitled to a degree of privacy where other members are not.
“Princess Beatrice currently has the option to have a fairly private wedding and less high profile to that of her cousins, Prince William or Harry, but with their [Harry and Meghan’s] decision to step back it could potentially mean that she will be put under pressure to share more details,” said Kate Disick.
Harry and Meghan announced their news last Wednesday, writing on their Instagram page that they made the decision “after many months of reflection and internal discussions”.
They wrote: “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 said they plan to balance their time between the UK and North America.
“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.”
Following talks held at Sandringham estate, the Queen issued a statement: “Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family.
“My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family. Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family.
“Harry and Meghan have made clear that they do not want to be reliant on public funds in their new lives.
“It has therefore been agreed that there will be a period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the UK.
“These are complex matters for my family to resolve, and there is some more work to be done, but I have asked for final decisions to be reached in the coming days.”