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Harry and Meghan shocked the world with an official “we’re done” announcement. Who is to blame for the Sussexes’ escape from the Queen’s golden cage? Is Meghan too ambitious for the role of Duchess? And was the royal resignation a shared desire or did Harry simply not have a choice? Let’s dig deeper to find the real reasons and probable consequences of “Megxit”.
Recently the Duke and Duchess of Sussex shocked the world with an official “we’re done” announcement via their Instagram. Of course, this shocking news keeps making headlines, but was the couple’s resignation really unexpected?
Since the very beginning of their journey as spouses, Meghan and Harry did not try to impress the senior royals, or compete with Kate and William. They chose to pave their own, alternative path, with the need for privacy and free interpretation of royal protocol. Two rebellious royals - is there better fuel for endless media speculations?
Meghan and Harry have long been showing signs of their possible separation from the monarchy. Do you remember their not-so-traditional wedding and how they refused to give their son, Archie, a courtesy title? The couple also split from Kensington Palace, setting up their own official household at Buckingham Palace.
They have a separate head of communications and their own @sussexroyal Instagram account. And six months ago Meghan and Harry left the Cambridges’ Royal Foundation to start a separate Sussex Royal charity. Looks like the two already have their own signature and brand, huh?
And more recent events gave us an even bolder hint. The Sussexes spent a six-week break in Canada and missed traditional Christmas celebrations with the royal family. During her official Christmas speech, the Queen did not have a picture of Harry and Meghan on the table, and she never mentioned them in her message. Could it be unintentional? We strongly doubt that.
Many believe that the members of the royal family were unaware of Megxit, but come on: the Sussexes are not teenagers that run and slam doors. What should have been a surprise is the rather controversial timing that the Duke and Duchess picked to go public. The big news came just one day before Kate Middleton’s birthday. Was it meant to be a gift?
Going back to Harry and Meghan's rebellion, it's certainly not the first time they overshadowed a more senior royal. The Monarch family reportedly knew nothing about the emotional documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey before it aired. And the film overshadowed a program about Prince Charles’ work overseas that came out around the same time.
Was there a rift in the family that made Harry and Meghan royal outcasts? Were the Sussexes forced to leave because of the alleged royal conflicts, born from jealousy and strict rules? So what’s the real reason for Megxit? Well, there might have been some family tension, but it was hardly a feud.
Some believe that the decision to quit was solely Meghan’s. But was it due to her acting ambitions and homesickness? The Duchess deliberately chose her personal life and family over her career, and now thoroughly enjoys being a wife and a mother.
Moreover, she embraced her royal humanitarian missions and plans to remain active in charity. And from the very beginning of Harry and Meghan’s relationship, the two shared that they were on the same page. So do you really think Meghan could be that selfish to make Harry resign against his will?
Harry had already considered leaving the royal family, and it was long before he met and married Markle. In a 2017 interview, Harry revealed his thoughts on giving up his royal title when he finished his military service in 2015.
“I felt I wanted out but then decided to stay in and work out a role for myself,” he shared. “We don’t want to be just a bunch of celebrities, but instead use our role for good.”
Harry felt his time in the army was the best escape, where he experienced his own achievements, learned to understand people from different backgrounds and be a part of a team. Since then, he wanted something more than royal life could offer.
So blaming Meghan in making him leave the place where he supposedly belongs is unfair. Both Sussexes revealed that the most difficult thing in their life as a family was dealing with the dreadfully intrusive media.
As Meghan shared in the documentary on their African journey, she never thought that joining the royals would be easy. Still, she had no idea of all the challenges and obstacles she would face. And during the past two years, with the support of Harry, she tried hard to fit into her new role and build a happy family.
But those two goals appeared to be incompatible, and their royal life started feeling more like survival.
"When I first met my now-husband, my friends were really happy, 'cause I was so happy. But my British friends said to me 'I'm sure he's great, but you shouldn't do it, 'cause the British tabloids will destroy your life"
Yes, all the media scrutiny and viral lies made the Sussexes live in a toxic environment. At the end of their royal tour of Africa in 2019, Harry announced that he’d sued a number of tabloids for publishing Meghan’s private letters and accessing her personal voicemails.
Meghan has been at the center of a media storm since she got engaged to Harry. The press dug into her past, unfolded a lot of troubles with her family, speculated her relationship with the other royals, and claimed she would never fit in.
And when Archie was born, naysayers slammed the Duchess for everything: from maternity leave to the way she held her baby. Her looks, her words, and even her silence were criticized. And all of this was spiced up with a dose of racism, of course. And after more than a year of bullying, Harry had decided he had had enough.
“We have continued to put on a brave face… I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been,” Harry wrote in a statement posted to the Sussex website. And though the lawsuits were primarily made to protect Meghan, there was another woman on Harry’s mind throughout the process: his late mother, Princess Diana.
“Because my deepest fear is history repeating itself. I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditized to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces,” the statement read.
Diana was hounded by the press the same way, and she tragically died in a car crash while trying to escape paparazzi. Yes, he’s doing this for Meghan, but he’s also doing it for his mother, Diana, who was never protected in the same way. In the same film on their African journey, Harry confessed that cameras and media attention are “the worst reminder” of his late mother:
“Every single time I see a camera, every single time I hear a click, every single time I see a flash it takes me straight back.”
Harry made it clear that he would continue to prioritize his wife and his son’s well-being at all costs. This is why many royal fans were kind of prepared for Megxit.
Looks like the current royal events promise us a spectacular season of “Crown” in the future. Even if Her Majesty was aware of Harry and Meghan’s decision, she had her own share of disappointment. Being a monarch for almost 7 decades, Queen Elizabeth II is experiencing hard times of royal family turmoil. First, Prince Andrew stepped back from public duty at the end of last year.
And now, Harry and Meghan... It looks like the royals have become very unsettled. Yes, the Sussexes’ resignation added more drama into the mix, but it also leaves the question of a workflow gap. Will the other senior royals be impacted with the departure of Meghan and Harry? Still, the Queen shared her formal approval of her grandson and granddaughter-in-law's decision.
"My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan's desire to create a new life as a young family," she said. "Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family."
The Queen’s message was not emotional, and she was immediately criticized for not showing enough empathy. Her Majesty also informed that there would be "a period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the UK". And while Harry stayed in the UK to finalize the formalities and represent the couple’s interests, Meghan has headed back to Canada to rejoin their son.
There are loads of questions to be settled - on their future royal role, their relationship with the rest of the Palace, on sources of funding and on ways to reach financial independence. And, of course, not all of it may become public. The Sussexes mentioned in their official announcement, that they want to split their time between North America and the UK.
There is a high chance that the couple will eventually settle down in Canada. First of all, it is a country of the Commonwealth, so there’s a strong connection to monarchy. Secondly, Meghan has a few close Canadian friends and spent a lot of time in Toronto while starring in Suits. And also the Canadians, including prime minister Justin Trudeau, have been extremely welcoming to the Sussexes.
But Meghan and Harry might move to Los Angeles as well. The Duchess was raised in LA and her mother, Doria Ragland, still lives there. And most of Meghan’s celebrity friends are LA-based. And if Meghan considers going back to acting, Los Angeles is again the perfect destination.
But will the Duchess revive her acting career? She’d be hot in demand! Reportedly, Meghan is already back on track. Well, kind of… According to The Times, she signed a voiceover deal with Disney in return for a donation to the wildlife charity Elephants Without Borders. The Duchess allegedly recorded it before she and Harry left for their six-week holiday break.
The funniest thing is that Harry was the one to arrange for the deal. The Duke was spotted chatting up Disney chief Bob Iger at the red carpet of the Lion King premiere in July 2019. The conversation was caught on video, and Harry was clearly promoting his wife’s ability and interest in doing voice overs.
What else will the couple be doing? The Sussexes want to focus on what matters to them, namely charity. But it will hardly help them become financially independent. On the FAQ page of their website, the couple explained that they will no longer receive funding from the Sovereign Grant.
Harry and Markle have only ever used money from the grant to fund the work of their office staff. Their travel expenses and home renovations have all been paid for from their own money, and the website states that “with their transition to becoming members of the Royal Family with financial independence this will continue to be the case.”
Meghan’s reported net worth is $6.5 million (5 million British pounds) from her work on the Suits. Like many former television and film stars, she will likely also receive residuals from her seven seasons on that show. Harry inherited approximately 7 million British pounds ($9.2 million) from his late mother’s estate. The salary Harry earned in the military was used to fund his charitable ventures over the years.
But considering the Sussexes’ non-ordinary life, they would have to find jobs to reach their desired financial independence. By stepping away from the royal family, they could, in theory, start charging a fee for speaking at public events or even monetizing their Instagram. Or maybe they will follow the Obamas' example?
If Meghan wrote a memoir, it would certainly become a bestseller! She and Harry could also earn by making documentaries, or even a Netflix series. Why not try to beat Barack and Michelle with their eight-figure Netflix deal? Anyway, we hope to hear from Meghan and Harry soon and wish them all the best in their exciting (and hopefully peaceful) new chapter.