Everything You Need To Know About Prince Harry And Meghan Markle Stepping Down As Senior Royals

  

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry surprised the world when they shared on January 8, 2020, that they would be stepping down for their senior roles as members of the royal family. Naturally, royal fans had many questions about what their future would look like, especially considering their announcement that they would be splitting time between the United Kingdom and North America. The couple was prepared for the questions and launched a website, www.sussexroyal.com, to answer everything you may be wondering about their shocking decision.

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20. Why are The Duke and Duchess of Sussex choosing this new working model?

“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex take great pride in their work and are committed to continuing their charitable endeavours as well as establishing new ones. In addition, they value the ability to earn a professional income, which in the current structure they are prohibited from doing. For this reason they have made the choice to become members of the Royal Family with financial independence. Their Royal Highnesses feel this new approach will enable them to continue to carry out their duties for Her Majesty The Queen, while having the future financial autonomy to work externally. While the contribution from The Sovereign Grant covers just five percent of costs for The Duke and Duchess and is specifically used for their official office expense, Their Royal Highnesses prefer to release this financial tie.”

Press Association

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19. Do any other members of the Royal Family hold a title and earn an income?

“Yes, there is precedent for this structure and applies to other current members of the Royal Family who support the monarch and also have full time jobs external to their commitment to the monarchy.”

EPA/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA

18. Do The Duke and Duchess of Sussex earn income?

“No, under the current structure and financing arrangements, they are prohibited from earning any income in any form.”

Press Association

17. By becoming financially independent, will The Duke and Duchess of Sussex be cutting ties with the monarchy?

“As working members of the Royal Family, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain dedicated to maximising Her Majesty’s legacy both in the UK and throughout the Commonwealth. They will continue to proudly do so by supporting their patronages and carrying out works for The Monarchy within the UK or abroad, as called upon.”

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16. Have The Duke and Duchess of Sussex benefited from public funding and tax benefits as members of the Royal Family?

“Five percent of the funding for their official office was provided through the Sovereign Grant starting in 2019 (more details on Sovereign Grant below). Public funding has never been used, nor would it ever be used for private expenditure by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who also do not receive any tax privileges.”

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15. How has the Office of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex been funded up to now?

“Since the establishment of The Office of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, 95 percent of the funding received for their Office expenditure is derived from income allocated by HRH The Prince of Wales, generated through the Duchy of Cornwall. This provision has been in place since Prince William and Prince Harry first established their offices in support of The Queen, and is the responsibility of The Prince of Wales. This information continues to be available on The Duchy of Cornwall website.”

(Yui Mok/PA via AP)

14. Where does the other five percent come from?

“As described above, the remaining five percent of funding for the Office of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, covering costs associated with employing members of their official office, is received through the Sovereign Grant. During the course of 2020, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have made the choice to step back as senior members of the Royal Family and no longer receive funding through the Sovereign Grant, thereby making them members of the Royal Family with financial independence. This phased approach will take time to transition in consultation with other senior members of the Royal Family, but Their Royal Highnesses are hopeful that this change is in the best interest for all and look forward to carrying out their duties to the monarch as well as their charitable work with financial autonomy.”

EPA/DOMINIC LIPINSKI / POOL

13. How much does The British Royal Family cost each UK taxpayer?

“The contribution from UK taxpayers towards the full overhead of the British Monarchy is equivalent to approximately £1 per head per year.”

EPA/PAUL EDWARDS / POOL

12. What is the return on the investment for this funding mechanism?

“The British Royal Family generates an estimated £1.8 billion a year in tourism revenues for The United Kingdom.”

EPA/NIGEL RODDIS

11. How was the Official Residence of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (Frogmore Cottage) funded?

“The refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, the Grade-2 listed building in Windsor Home Park was funded by Her Majesty The Queen through the Sovereign Grant, reflecting the Monarchy’s responsibility to maintain the upkeep of buildings with historical significance (see above). Expenses related to fixtures, furnishings, and fittings at the official residence – which is owned by Her Majesty the Queen – were funded privately by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. As stated on The Official UK Government website: ‘The occupied Royal Palaces are held in trust for the nation by The Queen as Sovereign. Their maintenance and upkeep is one of the expenses met by the government in return for the surrender by the Sovereign of the hereditary revenues of the Crown (mainly the profit from the Crown Estate). The Sovereign Grant will allow the Royal Household to set its own priorities and thus generate economies. The occupied Royal Palaces are: Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace, the residential and office areas of Kensington Palace, the Royal Mews and Royal Paddocks at Hampton Court, Windsor Castle and buildings in the Home and Great Parks at Windsor.'”

(Photo by Dominic Lipinski – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

10. Why did The Duke and Duchess move to Windsor as their Official Residence?

“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex chose to move to Windsor for various reasons. Their previous residence of Nottingham Cottage on the grounds of Kensington Palace could not accommodate their growing family. The option of Apartment 1 in Kensington Palace was estimated to cost in excess of £4 million for mandated renovations including the removal of asbestos (see details above on the Monarchy’s responsibility for this upkeep). This residence would not have been available for them to occupy until the fourth quarter of 2020. As a result, Her Majesty The Queen offered The Duke and Duchess the use of Frogmore Cottage, which was already undergoing mandated renovations, and would be available to move in before the birth of their son. The refurbishment cost equated to 50 percent of the originally suggested property for their proposed official residence at Kensington Palace. It is for these reasons, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex chose Frogmore Cottage as their Official Residence.”

EPA/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA

9. Given their transition into members of the Royal Family with financial independence, will The Duke and Duchess of Sussex maintain their residence at Frogmore Cottage?

“Frogmore Cottage will continue to be the property of Her Majesty the Queen. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will continue to use Frogmore Cottage – with the permission of Her Majesty The Queen – as their official residence as they continue to support the Monarchy, and so that their family will always have a place to call home in the United Kingdom.”

EPA/MARK LARGE / POOL

8. Does their future financial autonomy extend to covering the costs of travel?

“All travel arrangements undertaken by The Duke and Duchess in their private time have always been and will continue to be paid for privately and not by UK taxpayers. With their transition to becoming members of the Royal Family with financial independence this will continue to be the case. Wherever possible and unless advised otherwise on security grounds, their logistical arrangements are undertaken via commercial air carriers, local trains and fuel-efficient vehicles, be it for official or personal travel.”

© Ik Aldama/DPA via ZUMA Press)

7. Why do they carry out official overseas visits and who pays for it?

“The Duke and Duchess proudly carry out official overseas visits in support of Her Majesty The Queen at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), as is the case for all members of the Royal Family. The length and location of these tours are determined by the FCO and the Royal Visits Committee. All Official overseas visits are in support of Her Majesty’s Government’s objectives and paid for by The Sovereign Grant as well as contributions from the host country, when appropriate.”

Photo by Robin Utrecht/ABACAPRESS.COM

6. Does their future financial autonomy extend to covering the costs of security?

“The provision of armed security by The Metropolitan Police is mandated by the Home Office, a ministerial department of Her Majesty’s Government, responsible for security and law & order. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are classified as internationally protected people which mandates this level of security. As stated on gov.uk, ‘No breakdown of security costs is available as disclosure of such information could compromise the integrity of these arrangements and affect the security of the individuals protected. It is long established policy not to comment upon the protective security arrangements and their related costs for members of the Royal Family or their residences.'”

Doug Peters/EMPICS

5. How will The Duke and Duchess of Sussex handle media relations in the future?

In the spring of 2020, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be adopting a revised media approach to ensure diverse and open access to their work. This adjustment will be a phased approach as they settle into the new normality of their updated roles.  This updated approach aims to:

  • Engage with grassroots media organisations and young, up-and-coming journalists;
  • Invite specialist media to specific events/engagements to give greater access to their cause-driven activities, widening the spectrum of news coverage;
  • Provide access to credible media outlets focused on objective news reporting to cover key moments and events;
  • Continue to share information directly to the wider public via their official communications channels;
  • No longer participate in the Royal Rota system.

Matt Crossick/ EMPICS Entertainment.

4. Why have The Duke and Duchess of Sussex elected to change their media policy now?

The Duke and Duchess have chosen to revise their media policy to reflect both their forthcoming change as members of the Royal Family with financial independence, and their wish to reshape and broaden access to their work.

Doug Peters/EMPICS

3. What is The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s stance on media in general?

The Duke and Duchess believe in a free, strong and open media industry, which upholds accuracy and fosters inclusivity, diversity and tolerance. Both The Duke and Duchess have collaborated with media organisations including: Time Magazine, National Geographic, The Daily Telegraph, British Vogue, and various others. Their Royal Highnesses recognise that their roles as members of the Royal Family are subject to interest, and they welcome accurate and honest media reporting as well as being held to account if appropriate. Equally, like every member of society, they also value privacy as individuals and as a family.

Press Association

2. Will they continue to have a social media platform?

Yes, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will continue to have a social media platform. They look forward to continuing their use of social media and believe that their updated media approach will enable them to share more, with you, directly.

Historically, the understanding with the Royal Rota expects that if Their Royal Highnesses were to release a photo that has never been seen, they would be expected to give the image to The Rota (of which four of the seven are UK tabloids) simultaneously or in advance of their own release. This formula enables these select publications to profit by publishing these images on their websites/front pages. Any breach in this understanding creates long term repercussions.

The current structure makes it challenging for The Duke and Duchess of Sussex to personally share moments in their lives directly with members of the public (via social media for example), without first going through the filter of the Royal Rota.

EPA/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA / POOL

1. Is this change of media policy being adopted by other members of the Royal Family?

The changes outlined above apply to The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and their son, Archie. They do not speak on behalf of the other members of The Royal Family in regards to their media relations policies.

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