Duke and Duchess of Sussex choose personal freedom and walk away from monarchy

Q&A: What is the latest in the Harry and Meghan crisis?

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have walked away from the monarchy after they had to choose between personal freedom and royal duty.

Harry and Meghan had wanted to remain as working royals, although not prominent members, and become financially independent – a dual role many commentators said was fraught with problems.

But in a statement issued after royal family talks concluded, the Sussexes announced they will stop carrying out royal duties from the spring, no longer use HRH and will repay the taxpayers' millions spent on their Berkshire home.

Harry and Meghan said in their statement, issued on their behalf by Buckingham Palace, that under the agreement they understood they were "required" to step back from royal duties.

Earning money from lucrative contracts and still remaining active members of the monarchy would have been problematic, and has caused issues for royals who have tried to straddle the two positions in the past.

The deal is a hard "Megixt" for the couple – as the issue has been dubbed by the media – and a source told PA news agency "you can't be half in and half out".

The announcement marks the conclusion of talks about their future with senior members of the family and royal aides.

The Queen issued an emotional statement, saying she recognised the "challenges" they had faced over the past year, and added: "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."

The couple's spokeswoman issued a statement on their behalf saying: "As agreed in this new arrangement, they understand that they are required to step back from royal duties, including official military appointments.

"They will no longer receive public funds for royal duties.

"With the Queen's blessing, the Sussexes will continue to maintain their private patronages and associations.

"While they can no longer formally represent the Queen, the Sussexes have made clear that everything they do will continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty."

Duke and Duchess of Sussex statement

The Queen's statement included a personal tribute to the Sussexes with the monarch unusually using the first names of her grandson and his family in a public message.

She said: "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."

19 PHOTOS
Harry and Meghan visit Canada’s High Commission
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Harry and Meghan visit Canada’s High Commission
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex leaving after their visit to Canada House, central London, meeting with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette (right), as well as staff to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex leave Canada House in London after thanking Canada's High Commissioner for Canada in the UK, Janice Charette (R) for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada. (Photo by Steve Taylor / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan Duchess of Sussex are greeted outside Canada House in London by Canada's High Commissioner for Canada in the UK, Janice Charette (L) and the deputy High Commissioner, Sarah Fountain Smith (2nd from left). (Photo by Steve Taylor / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex leave Canada House in London after thanking Canada's High Commissioner for Canada in the UK, Janice Charette for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada. (Photo by Steve Taylor / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrives at Canada House in London. Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan Duchess of Sussex met Canada's High Commissioner for Canada in the UK, Janice Charette thanking her for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada. (Photo by Steve Taylor / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
The Duchess of Sussex wearing a brown polo neck top and a Massimo Dutti skirt, and The Duke of Sussex visit Canada House in London on January 07, 2020.
The Duchess of Sussex wearing a brown polo neck top and a Massimo Dutti skirt, and The Duke of Sussex visit Canada House in London on January 07, 2020.
The Duchess of Sussex wearing a Reiss camel coat, and The Duke of Sussex visit Canada House in London on January 07, 2020.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex look at a special exhibition of art by Indigenous Canadian artist, Skawennati, in the Canada Gallery during their visit to Canada House, central London, meeting with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex look at a special exhibition of art by Indigenous Canadian artist, Skawennati, in the Canada Gallery during their visit to Canada House, central London, meeting with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex look at a special exhibition of art by Indigenous Canadian artist, Skawennati, in the Canada Gallery during their visit to Canada House, central London, meeting with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex leaving after their visit to Canada House, central London, meeting with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex leaving after their visit to Canada House, central London, meeting with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette and the deputy High Commissioner, Sarah Fountain Smith (left), as well as staff to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
The Duchess of Sussex arrves for her visit to Canada House, central London, meeting with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex talk with the High Commissioner for Canada in the UK Janice Charette (2nd left) and the deputy High Commissioner Sarah Fountain Smith (left) during their visit to Canada House, central London, meeting staff to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex during their visit to Canada House, central London, meeting with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex during their visit to Canada House, central London, meeting with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
The Duchess of Sussex arriving for her visit to Canada House, central London, to meet with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff, to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
The Duchess of Sussex arriving for the visit to Canada House, central London, to meet with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff, to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
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