The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are not leaving the family but are stepping down as working royal members completely.
On January 9, when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced that they want to "step back" from their roles as "senior members" of the royal family, they raised a lot of eyebrows. The Royal Family, too, was taken aback as it was reported that they had no prior intimation of their decision. News reports said that the announcement had led to a crisis situation within the family and eventually all the senior members got together to find an amicable solution.
An interim statement from the Queen said that they are having "constructive discussions." Well, the decision is here. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been granted the freedom they sought but at a cost. In two statements, one from the Queen and one from the Buckingham Palace, Harry and Meghan's new status within the family has been revealed.
"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," the Queen said. The fact that she chose to let the people of the country and globe know that they were family first came through when she chose to address Harry as "my grandson and his family."
The Queen's statement also reveals how she seems to understand the scrutiny and negative treatment the UK media has subject the couple to in the last two years: "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." Her entire statement was published on Royal.uk.
Apart from this, she also extended her appreciation for her granddaughter-in-law, Meghan, who left her family, friends, and country to be with Harry as well as the remarkable work the couple did for the Commonwealth.
"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."
Another statement from the Buckingham Palace detailed out the nuances of their agreement. It read: "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are grateful to Her Majesty and the Royal Family for their ongoing support as they embark on the next chapter of their lives. 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."
It continued, "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. The Sussexes will not use their HRH titles as they are no longer working members of the Royal Family. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have shared their wish to repay Sovereign Grant expenditure for the refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, which will remain their UK family home. Buckingham Palace does not comment on the details of security arrangements. There are well established independent processes to determine the need for publicly-funded security. This new model will take effect in the Spring of 2020."
The statements have indicated that there will be a transition period of a couple of months, though the exact date has not been revealed yet. While Harry and Meghan had indicated that they would like to continue working for the Royal Family and pursue "for-profit" employment, it seems to have been rejected by the family. They will not retain their titles either.
The family's statement shows a united front while the new parents prepare to carve out an identity for themselves in a new land. Markle is already in Canada with Archie and it is believed that Harry will be joining her there soon.