Despite literally living in the lap of luxury and royalty, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the former Duke and Duchess of Sussex, took their talents across the pond. In a January 2020 Instagram post, they let their followers know they planned to step back from their royal duties in order to split their time between the United Kingdom and North America.
Since then, they have distanced themselves more and more from the royal family and have now set roots down in California.
Harry and Meghan's exit from the royal family is now official.
Whereas Harry and Meghan's leave may have been seen as temporary, in February 2021, they confirmed that they would not, in fact, be returning to their royal duties. Buckingham Palace released a statement regarding the decision.
"Following conversations with the Duke, the Queen has written confirming that in stepping away from the work of the royal family it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service," the statement said.
It continued, "The honorary military appointments and royal patronages held by the Duke and Duchess will therefore be returned to her majesty, before being redistributed among working members of the royal family. While all are saddened by their decision, the Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family."
Since Harry wasn't one of the next few in line for the throne anyway, there wasn't anything inherently wrong with them asserting their independence. But their official statement on Instagram said they planned to step down from their most immediate duties as premier members of the royal family, which meant they were going to use their time as they wish, rather than to serve the family, as they had up until that point.
"After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution," the couple wrote on Instagram to their followers. "We intend to step back as 'senior' members of the royal family and work to become financially independent."
They added that they want to use this move to focus on their family and financial independence as well.
The queen supported Harry and Meghan's exit.
In a perfect world, Queen Elizabeth II might prefer for her family and direct descendants to be geographically close to her in England. But, Harry and Meghan assured their Instagram followers that she supported their plan. They wrote that through this move professionally and physically, they still planned to "continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge, and all relevant parties."
Will Harry have to get a job?
In most cases, members of the royal family tend to work with various charities within the goals of the family. They have also been part of the military in the past, much like Harry has already done. But along with his and Meghan’s separation from some of their current duties in the royal family, might come a big shift in his career focus. Harry is also a veteran of the British Armed Forces, but his departure from the royal family severs his ties to his former position.
Meghan and Harry wrote that they planned to embark on a new charitable venture, whatever that may be, so no, Harry won’t be asking restaurant patrons if they want "fries with that" any time soon. He could, however, find himself in a different role in a charity that is run by himself and Meghan rather than one that stems from his family’s previous work.
There were rumors of Meghan and Harry's move before.
Before their official exit from their duties, Meghan and Harry were rumored to have been considering the move due to royal pressures on them as a couple. There was even speculation that Harry and Meghan would give up their official titles in the royal family.
At first, it didn't seem as though things would be so drastic, but now that confirmation has come from Buckingham Palace, it's safe to say that Meghan and Harry have no plans to return to the royal family.