Q&A: What is Megxit all about and what happens next?

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex sparked a major royal crisis by announcing that they wanted to quit as senior royals.

Here is a look at the ins and outs of the Megxit troubles.

– What will happen on March 31?

It’s “Megxit Day”, so from midnight on March 31 Harry and Meghan cease to be senior royals as they walk away from the monarchy. They will stop using their HRH styles.

No documents will be signed or laws passed and the decision will not be binding, but it marks a new phase in their life.

– Will they carry out any more royal duties?

No.  The couple are quitting, not just as senior royals, but as working royals in general.

– Was this what they wanted?

Not quite. Harry and Meghan wanted to step down as senior royals but have a dual role, supporting the Queen and earning their own money.

– But this was unworkable?

Yes. They effectively could not have their cake and eat it.

It was too controversial given their global profiles and would have led to accusations they were cashing in on their royal status.

– How did the Queen sort out the saga?

The monarch held a crisis summit at Sandringham with Harry, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge – and it was announced a few days later there would be no dual role for the Sussexes.

The Queen and Harry
The Queen greets her grandson Harry at the Chelsea Flower Show (Julian Simmonds/The Daily Telegraph/PA)

– Why did Harry and Meghan’s plans cause such shock waves?

Harry and Meghan issued a bombshell statement on January 8, without warning the Queen and the Prince of Wales and after being told by the monarch to discuss matters with Charles first.

– Why did they want to step down as senior royals?

The couple spoke of their struggles dealing with royal life and the intense tabloid interest in a television documentary about their Africa tour.

Meghan said: “It’s not enough to just survive something, that’s not the point of life. You have got to thrive.”

Harry has since said he wanted his family to have a “more peaceful life”.

– What were the low points following their wedding?

Controversies included rows over privacy and use of private jets, a falling out between Harry and William, the launch of legal action and an attack on the press which overshadowed an official royal tour.

Harry and Meghan on their official tour of South Africa
Harry and Meghan on their official tour of South Africa (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

– Where will they live?

Harry and Meghan, with their son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, were renting on Vancouver Island in Canada, but have now moved to the US, setting up home in Los Angeles, California where Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland lives.

– What about Frogmore Cottage?

Harry and Meghan will keep their Windsor home, start paying commercial rent, and pay back £2.4 million in taxpayers’ money spent on its renovations.

Royal wedding
Megxit comes just 22 months after Harry and Meghan wed (Christopher Furlong/PA)

– What will they be called?

Initially the palace said they would be Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.

But it was pointed out the titles mirrored those of a divorcee – the Princess of Wales became Diana, Princess of Wales following the end of her marriage to Charles.

They will be the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – but without their HRHs.

– Who had a similar title?

Wallis Simpson – the last American divorcee to marry a senior royal, for whom Edward VIII abdicated the throne.

The Windsors
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor (PA)

Mrs Simpson became the Duchess of Windsor, but was never permitted to be an HRH.

– Have they been stripped of their HRHs like Diana?

No. Harry was born a prince and remains so. They will retain their HRHs but will not use them.

– How will they make money?

They are predicted to make millions from public speaking, lucrative contracts, book deals – or perhaps, for Meghan, a return to acting.

– What have they done already?

Meghan has narrated a Disneynature film about a family of elephants and their journey across Africa – which will air on April 3 – nine months after Harry, while on an official engagement, told a Disney boss his wife was available for voiceover work.

Disneynature’s Elephant, an Original Movie narrated by Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, starts streaming April 3, only on #DisneyPlus. pic.twitter.com/ArpgkbrjRj

— Disney+ (@disneyplus) March 26, 2020

A donation was made to a conservation charity, but it is not known if Meghan received a separate fee.

Sources say she has no further deals with Disney, whether superhero movies, animated films or otherwise.

– And Harry?

Harry, accompanied by Meghan, gave a speech in February at a JP Morgan event in Miami, Florida, and talked about the therapy he had over the death of his mother.

Speculation was rife he could have received a fee worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

– Will they be financially independent?

Not completely. The Prince of Wales will also continue to offer private financial support to the couple.

Buckingham Palace garden party
The Prince of Wales will support Harry and Meghan (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

This is expected to come from his £21 million a year Duchy of Cornwall income.

– Will they launch their own charitable foundation?

Yes but they are not calling it a foundation. Harry and Meghan intend to “develop a new way to effect change” with a non-profit organisation, details of which have yet to be unveiled.

– Will they still be able to use Sussex Royal as their brand?

No. The Queen and her senior officials have declared they must drop the use of the word “Royal”.

Sussex Royal
Harry and Meghan’s first Sussex Royal Instagram post (PA)

– Are Harry and Meghan happy about this?

They don’t appear to be. Their website states they will not use “Royal” but argues that the monarchy has no jurisdiction over the use of the word “Royal” overseas.

– What will their new brand name be?

It is expected to be announced soon. They will have to change their @SussexRoyal Instagram handle. Some options are already taken – H&M is already a major clothing retailer.

– Who will pay for their security?

This is causing controversy.  US President Donald Trump has insisted America will not foot the bill.

A spokeswoman for the Sussexes said privately-funded security arrangements have been made and the couple will not ask the US government for help.

But it is unclear whether the private security arrangements are in addition to, or instead of, the couple’s Metropolitan Police protection officers, and whether any police protection officers being used will continue to be paid for by UK taxpayers.

It is also unclear who is paying for the private arrangements – whether it is the Sussexes, the Queen or the Prince of Wales.

Protection officers
The Duchess of Sussex is escorted through a market in Suva, Fiji, during an official tour (Ian Vogler/PA)

Neither Buckingham Palace nor the Home Office will confirm details, but the total security bill is estimated to be as much as £20 million a year.

Harry and Meghan have already left Canada, where the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said it would stop providing protection after Megxit.

– What have Harry and Meghan said previously?

Their website claims it is agreed they “require effective security to protect them” because Harry was “born into the royal family” and because Meghan has her “own independent profile”.

– What about their patronages?

They will keep their royal patronages as private patronages and associations.

But Harry’s military appointments will be put on hold for the next 12 months.

– What about their Commonwealth roles?

Harry is quitting his role as Commonwealth Youth Ambassador.

But he will remain president of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, and Meghan will still be the Trust’s vice-president.

The Sussex family
Harry, Meghan and Archie (Toby Melville/PA)

– Where will Archie go to school?

As Archie will be spending most of his time in North America, it it is likely he will not have a British education, but nothing has been confirmed.

– What about Meghan’s citizenship?

At the time of their engagement, it was announced that Meghan would be applying for British citizenship.

It is not known what stage the process was at or what will happen now.

– Will they been seen again in the UK?

Unlikely for a while with the UK in lockdown.

Harry was due at the London Marathon in April in a non-royal capacity, but the race has been postponed until October, and the Trooping the Colour celebrations of the Queen’s official birthday in June, when Harry and Meghan could have joined the royals, will not happen in its traditional form.

The royal family
The royals at Buckingham Palace (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

– Is this end of Harry and Meghan’s royal roles forever?

Possibly not. The situation will be reviewed by the monarchy in 12 months’ time, leaving the door open in case of a change of heart.

The Queen has told Harry the couple are much loved by the royals and would be welcomed back if they wanted to be working royals in the future.

– Aren’t there more pressing issues?

Exactly. The Megxit saga began before the UK was affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Now the country is in the midst of unprecedented peacetime restrictions and dealing with the biggest public health crisis in a generation, as the world battles the pandemic.

Harry’s father the Prince of Wales has tested positive for the Covid-19 illness and the 93-year-old Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, 98, are staying at Windsor Castle for their safety.

– But is Harry still in the line of succession?

Yes, he remains sixth in line and Archie is seventh in line.

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