‘Megxit’ splits opinion among royal fans and tourists outside Buckingham Palace

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s unprecedented decision to step back from senior royal duties split opinion among the royal fans and tourists outside Buckingham Palace.

Supporters and visitors, including from the US and Commonwealth countries such as Australia, gathered outside the gates of the Queen’s residence in central London the morning after the surprise announcement on Wednesday evening.

Some voiced their shock, sadness and disappointment over what tabloids have dubbed ‘Megxit’, while others commended the royal couple’s move to part with tradition.

Among a group of five staunch royal supporters dressed in union flags, hats and t-shirts, was super-fan John Loughney, a 64-year-old from Stretham in Cambridgeshire.

John Loughney outside Buckingham Palace (Yui Mok/PA)
John Loughney outside Buckingham Palace (Yui Mok/PA)

He said they were standing in the cold to support the Queen against the “disrespectful decision” made by her grandson and his wife.

Mr Loughney, a retired assistant chef, said: “They have been disrespectful to the Queen, their grandmother.

“They’re putting a lot of stress on her, so we’re here to support the Queen.

“They’re doing their own announcements before the Queen knows – that’s unheard of.

“This is the monarchy – it’s the Queen.”

He added: “It’s a crisis in the royal family at the moment, and everyone’s talking about it, not just here, in Britain, but all over the world.

“It’s looking bad for the rest of the world, it looks like we have a problem in the royal family.

“The whole world is unhappy with them.”

Michelle Gregory, a charity volunteer from Hampshire now living in Australia, said the couple’s decision to step down as senior royals is “a big loss for England.”

Ms Gregory, 55, who was visiting family in the UK, said: “Harry is so popular, everyone loves him.”

“He’s a fabulous member of the royal family, and his heart should be here,” she added.

The usual throng of sightseers gathered outside the palace on Thursday (Yui Mok/PA)
The usual throng of sightseers gathered outside the palace on Thursday (Yui Mok/PA)

John Henry, a 65-year-old retired teacher from Skegness in Lincolnshire, said: “I felt some sympathy for them, because they are under some pressure from the media.

“I think everyone will get used to the idea eventually.”

And Adam Duell, a 45-year-old IT research consultant from Newcastle, said Harry and Meghan’s announcement was an “excellent response” to how they felt about their royal responsibilities.

Mr Duell said: “It shows they want to have a personal life and pursue their own things rather than just pursue their royal obligations.

“I don’t see any reason why they shouldn’t be able to do that.

“Harry has been in the Army, he’s served in the armed forces, he’s worked with charities, and still has been fulfilling his royal obligations up until the announcement,” he added.

Natha Kone, an American tourist, said she was “shocked” to hear the announcement.

The 31-year-old restaurant manager from Marilyn, Washington, said: “It’s kind of sad because we know them as part of the British royal family.

“They are family, and they’re separating – it’s pretty new and we are still digesting it.”

But other tourists supported the royal couple’s decision to part with custom for a range of reasons.

Diana Maglieri, 47, from Adelaide, Australia, who is on a family holiday to the UK with her husband and three children, also supported their decision.

Mrs Maglieri, who owns a winery, said: “I think they (Harry and Meghan) get a lot of flack from the palace family, and I think it’s good they are going to leave and do their own thing, and show the Queen that they’re standing their ground, and not to follow protocol all the time.

Diana Maglieri from Adelaide in Australia was sight seeing outside the palace (Yui Mok/PA)
Diana Maglieri from Adelaide in Australia was sight seeing outside the palace (Yui Mok/PA)

South African couple Jade Joubert and Jarryd Lavery, who are currently living in Australia, said the couple’s departure from “antiquated” custom was “exciting.”

Ms Joubert, a 31-year-old teacher, said: “Not to be offensive, but I think the whole royal system is a bit outdated.

“I know traditionally you guys (the UK) want to hold on to your values, but I think times are changing, and it’s quite exciting for an outsider looking in.

“And I think them breaking away and doing their own thing is quite exciting.

“They are humanitarians at heart and maybe they want to focus more on that.”

Mr Lavery, a 33-year-old environmental scientist, said: “If they’re not relying on the crown for money, then they can do what they want, sink or swim. I think that’s the best way to do it, so good for them.”