It was the unprecedented royal bombshell that shocked the world.
Following lots of frantic discussions and some deliberation, Queen Elizabeth then gave consent for the Duke and Duchess to start their new life in Canada and earning a living for themselves.
But a week after Her Majesty’s statement on the fate of her “grandson and his family”, there are still plenty of questions to answer. So, here goes:
Why did Meghan Markle and Prince Harry leave the Royal Family?
Harry and Meghan first announced on January 8, 2020 they were taking a “step back” from their royal roles following intense scrutiny following their 2018 Royal Wedding.
This, they say, continued throughout Meghan’s pregnancy and following the birth of Archie in May 2019.
While the couple had hoped “to carve out a progressive new role within this institution”, allowing them to take part in some but not all aspects of royal life, that didn’t eventuate.
Following the emergency crisis talks dubbed the Sandringham Summit, the Queen decided it was all or nothing and the couple opted to bow out completely.
This means Harry and Meghan will not represent the Queen as working members of the royal family.
“We both do everything we can to fly the flag and carry out our roles for this country with pride,” Harry confessed in a speech at a Sentebale dinner last week.
“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.”
What did the Queen say about Harry and Meghan leaving the royal family?
In her announcement of the upcoming changes for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, the Queen spoke not only as a sovereign but as a grandmother, in a personal tone not often heard from Her Majesty.
“Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,” Queen Elizabeth began.
“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.”
The monarch thanked the couple for all their efforts across the Commonwealth and spoke of her pride at Meghan for “so quickly become one of the family”.
When will the changes come into effect?
Harry and Meghan are currently in a “transition period” as they wrap up their royal lives for their new ones.
According to the statement from the Queen announcing the changes, the Sussexes’ new lifestyle will come into effect from the UK Spring, which means sometime between March and May but no exact date has been announced.
Are Harry and Meghan losing their titles?
As part of their agreement with the Queen, the couple would lose their royal status but retain their titles.
This means they will no longer use the HRH title or refer to themselves as such while they “work to become financially independent” but they will technically still have them.
What does HRH mean anyway?
The letters HRH stand for His/Her Royal Highness.
It is an honourary title given at the discretion of the monarch to their children and grandchildren.
Although, it’s not always accepted by them.
For example, Princess Anne declined the HRH title for her two children Peter Philips and Zara Tindall (nee Philips), while Prince Andrew accepted the letters for Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.
Similarly, Prince William and Kate opted to give Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis the honourary title but Meghan and Harry decided not to for Archie.
While Meghan and Kate were bestowed the HRH by the Queen when they married into the family.
Although, the same didn’t happen for Jack Brooksbank, when he wed Princess Eugenie, despite her title.
The HRH title doesn’t extend out to minor royals.
Is Harry no longer a prince?
Prince Harry remains just that, a Prince. He was born into it and as a grandson of the Queen, as well as son of the future King, he won’t have that taken away.
However, he will not be able to use it for any commercial purposes.
So, Harry will go from his current official title His Royal Highness, the Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton and Baron Kilkeel to simply Harry, Duke of Sussex.
Similarly, his wife will likely become Meghan, Duchess of Sussex although, this may be tweaked slightly since it’s the same styling that’s previously been given to royal divorcees such as Diana and Sarah Ferguson.
Will Harry give up his place in the line of succession?
The short answer here is: No.
Prince Harry is currently sixth-in-line to the throne and taking a step back from his royal duties will not change the line of succession. Similarly, Archie remains in seventh place.
What will their new surname be?
As per the Palace’s statement announcing the changes, it seems that at least for now, the couple will use Duke/Duchess of Sussex in lieu of a surname.
They could otherwise take on the surname Mountbatten-Windsor, which is afforded to decedents of the Queen and is already Archie’s surname.
Where will Harry and Meghan live now?
The couple will still call Frogmore Cottage home while in the UK.
The house, next door to the Queen at Windsor Castle, was recently refurbished to accommodate the couple’s growing family.
As part of their exit, they’ve agreed to pay the $4.5 million (£2.4m) renovation costs back to the Sovereign Grant, which is the money the monarchy gets from UK taxpayers.
When announcing their decision to step down, Harry and Meghan also revealed they plan to split their time between the UK and North America.
While it’s understood they mean Canada, some believe they may wind up back in Meghan’s hometown of LA.
Is Meghan going back to acting?
It’s not known if the former Suits star will return to acting.
However, the 38-year-old has inked a voiceover deal with Disney, indicating she may return to her craft in some way, shape or form.
Will Harry and Meghan still go on Royal Tours?
In stepping back from their senior roles, this means they will no longer undertake activities representing the Queen and this includes Royal Tours.
Another thing Harry will have to give up as a result of his exit will be his beloved military appointments.
“Our hope was to continue serving the Queen, the commonwealth, my military associations, but without public funding,” Harry also said in his Sentebale speech.
“Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible.”
So, of the UK Spring when the changes take effect for the Sussexes, Harry will step down as Captain General Royal Marines, Honorary Air Commandant of RAF Honington and Commodore-in-Chief of Small Ships and Diving, Royal Naval Command.
What will the Sussexes do for money?
The couple intend to make money for themselves but the exact ins and outs of that as yet remain unknown.
It’s understood their already popular Sussex Royal brand could make them millions, having recently trademarked the name across hundreds of items.
It’s also thought they could make lots of money from the speaker’s circuit in the US, along with TV and book deals.
There are reports the couple are looking to follow in the footsteps of Barack and Michelle Obama and set up their own production company.
How did Harry and Meghan make money before?
Prince Harry held down a job in the army but his riches come from inheritance.
He is believed to be worth just under $60 million after inheriting massive fortunes from his late mother, Princess Diana, and the Queen mother, who was Harry’s great-grandmother.
Meanwhile, Meghan was already estimated to be worth over $9.2 million before she even married Harry in 2018, having earned more than $66,000 for each episode of TV drama Suits, which she starred in between 2011-2018.
How do the Royals get paid?
Prince Harry has previously received an annual allowance from both the Queen’s Sovereign Grant and Prince Charles’ Duchy.
The 35-year-old shares $9.5 million with Prince William each year from the taxpayer funded grant.
And then the young royals get a top up from dad, to the tune of another $9 million to share, from the Prince of Wales’s Duchy of Cornwall Estate.
The estate also pays for Kate and Meghan’s wardrobes, given the royal family can’t accept free clothing and accessories from designers and brands who are no doubt desperate to dress the Duchesses.
Will we still see the Sussexes at family events?
Yes. The Queen has made it very clear Harry, Meghan and Archie are still very much a part of her family and as such, it’s likely the Sussexes will be a part of major family events.
It’s likely they’ll step out onto the Buckingham Palace balcony along with the rest of the Windsors at major events if they are in the UK at the time.