In early January, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex negotiated a deal with Queen Elizabeth II to become financially independent from the Royal Family. With this, Harry and Meghan will surrender many of their royal “privileges” to instead spend the majority of their time in North America.
Prince Harry will be forced to renounce his honorary military rankings, and he and Meghan will no longer be considered Commonwealth Young Ambassadors, a title that they both hold very close to their hearts. Buckingham Palace also announced that Harry and Meghan will be repaying at least $3 million in taxpayer money that they used to renovate their residence at Windsor Castle. The couple also will sacrifice their most well-known title: His and Her Royal Highness.
With this deal, Harry and Meghan will still be the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as that was the title enthralled on them by Queen Elizabeth II when they were married in 2018. Harry will also remain a prince, and 6th in succession for the crown, after his father, Prince Andrew; his older brother, Prince William; and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s children: George, Charlotte, and Louis.
Because they are part of the royal family, Harry and Meghan received funding from taxpayers. Because they are becoming financially independent, this will no longer happen. Still, the couple has a large sum of money to fall back on. Harry’s mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, left him a trust. He also earned quite the sum by being a caption in the British Army. As for Meghan, she is said to have earned over $3 million for starring in the television series, Suits.
Still, Harry and Meghan will not be financially supported by public funding anymore, which equates to the majority of their earnings. It is believed that they will be funded by Prince Charles through his private estate, the Duchy of Cornwall. It is unsure how long the Prince of Wales will be privately supporting them.
As for who will be paying for the couple’s security while they are in North America, that question is still up in the air. Buckingham Palace has yet to comment on this.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been in the public eye since the two went public about their relationship. Tabloids have even compared Meghan to her sister-in-law Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, for years.
“You can definitely see the bias when papers and media outlets talk about Meghan versus Kate,” said Carolina Reagan (‘20).
Meghan was scrutinized for resting her hand on her pregnant stomach while in public when Kate was praised for being a great mother. Kate was looked at as elegant and cutting-edge when she suggested having her favorite scented candles at her and
William’s wedding ceremony. When Meghan wanted air fresheners at her and Harry’s ceremony, she was called “dictatorial” and the royal staff declined her request. At this point, the media was just looking for something to scrutinize her for.
Prince Harry has often spoken about the similarities between his wife and his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. Diana constantly received media attention–both positive and negative–due to her impact on the world before her untimely passing in 1997, when Harry was 12. Harry, along with many others, contributes his mother’s death to the paparazzi, who were chasing her, her partner, bodyguard and driver, who ultimately lost control and crashed their car, killing them all except for her bodyguard.
Though Meghan and Harry aren’t followed to that extreme, the tabloids still seem to be on her for everything.
“It’s eerily similar to how Diana was treated, in my opinion,” said Reagan.
What the media fails to cover about Meghan is her contribution to conservation and humanitarian work. Meghan has spent time in Rwanda, Malawi, Delhi, and Mumbai with various charities, and she recently sealed a voiceover deal with Disney, understanding that they will then donate to an elephant conservation fund.
Nonetheless, Meghan was an established woman before marrying into the royal family. She’s an American biracial actress who was raised by her single mother, which goes completely against the typical face of a royal. The royal family is built on tradition, and the Duchess of Sussex breaks that mould. Because of this, Harry and Meghan have had enough, and are choosing to step away.