One thing is for sure – Americans love keeping up with the British royal family. My parents’ generation got to watch Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ wedding broadcast on TV, and now our generation has been able to watch the weddings of Prince William and Catherine Middleton and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
On Jan. 8, Harry and Meghan announced on Instagram that they planned to “step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent.” This came as a surprise to most, as according to the BBC, Buckingham Palace was “blindsided” by this announcement.
USA Today details that a “senior member” is someone who is close to Queen Elizabeth and is in succession to the throne. Meghan and Harry will both still be royals, and Harry will still be sixth in line to the throne, but they will no longer be working members of the royal family.
Additionally, the BBC reported that Buckingham Palace announced that Harry and Meghan will no longer use the titles His and Her Royal Highness.
Saying that they will be financially independent means they will no longer receive money from the Sovereign Grant, which is tax-funded money that pays for royal duties. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were only receiving 5 percent of their income from this, and the other 95 percent was from Prince Charles, Harry’s father. They will continue to receive money from him after they step down.
Also, Harry and William were left about $16 million from their mother, Princess Diana. Meghan also earned $50,000 from each episode of Suits and has her own fashion collection. One can assume that they will not struggle for money.
In this video, Harry states with “great sadness” his and Meghan’s decision to step down. He mentions his mother and how the media is a “powerful force.” He is most likely referring to the fact that his mother died in a car crash after being chased by paparazzi in 1997. The couple announced they were pursuing legal action against Associated Newspapers over “alleged misuse of private information, infringement of copyright, and breach of the Data Protection Act of 2018” and the Sun and Daily Mirror for alleged phone hacking, according to Vox.
Harry also mentions in the video that he and Meghan will continue to lead a life of service.
Their decision to leave may also have to do with all that Meghan has had to endure since marrying Harry. UK tabloids keep throwing Meghan under the bus, criticizing her relationship for moving too fast and speculating that Meghan’s assistant quit after only six months because Meghan was so demanding. These topics only scratch the surface of how awful the media has portrayed Meghan.
However, most of the hate she has received concerns her race. Shortly after Meghan gave birth to her first child, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, BBC talk show host Danny Baker was fired for tweeting an image of a couple with a chimpanzee with the caption “Royal baby leaves the hospital.”
Similarly, when Princess Michael of Kent met Meghan for the first time, the Princess wore a Blackamoor brooch, which is a style of art that portrays black people as exotic or subservient according to NBC.