The Queen has announced details of the agreement reached for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Harry and Meghan will no longer use their HRH status and will no longer represent the Queen under the agreement reached by all four royal households. They will continue to support their private patronages and have agreed to repay the £2.4million of taxpayers' money spent on refurbishing Frogmore Cottage, which will remain their UK home.
WATCH VIDEO: Harry and Meghan will no longer use their HRH status
In her statement, the Queen said: "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. 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."
Buckingham Palace also issued the following statement from the Sussexes: "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. 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 statement continued: "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." A palace source said: "The Queen has made it clear that Frogmore will continue to be the Sussexes’ home. They will repay the public expenditure on it and will pay for its upkeep. They will be paying a commercial rent on it."
"Everything they do will continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty," added the source when asked about the couple’s plans for future commercial deals. It is not yet clear whether they will continue to use the Sussex Royal name and HELLO! understands this is still being worked through by aides.
Following the decision, Harry and Meghan will remain Duke and Duchess of Sussex and will be individually styled as Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. Harry loses his military patronages and will no longer serve as Commonwealth Youth Ambassador, representing the Queen. He will step down as Captain-General of the Royal Marines, Honorary Air Commandant at RAF Honington and Commodore-in-Chief, Small Ships and Diving. He and Meghan will, however, retain their roles as President and Vice President of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust. There will, however, be a “period of transition” before all this comes into effect.
A source told HELLO: "The discussions are ongoing. There has been an acceptance and understanding of what it is that the Sussexes want to achieve and a genuine desire to come up with a new way of working to support their wish for a more independent life. The issues are complicated," added the source, saying the agreement was the result of "detailed conversations between officials and members of the family. "They were all extremely friendly and constructive because the common goal was clear, as was the desire to reach a successful conclusion. Everyone is pleased to have got here today."
The changes will come into effect from the Spring and they will carry out further royal engagements in the UK before then. They will split their time between the UK and North America with the majority of the time in North America. The Prince of Wales will continue to offer "private financial support" to the couple, which may not necessarily be from his Duchy of Cornwall income. Their work will continue to be in support of Her Majesty around the Commonwealth.
Following the statement from the Queen, Harry and Meghan took to their new website to issue the following update: "In line with the statement by Her Majesty The Queen, information on the roles and work of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be updated on this website in due course. We appreciate your patience and invite you to explore the site to see the current works of Their Royal Highnesses."
Prince Harry and Meghan shocked the world last week when they announced they're stepping back as senior royals and intend to work to become financially independent. The Duke travelled to Sandringham on Monday to discuss plans with the Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge. An initial statement from the monarch shared her support for her grandson and his wife, adding that she had asked for "final decisions to be reached in the coming days."
READ: Prince Harry makes first public appearance since stepping back as senior royal
Timeline of events
Wednesday 8 January
Harry and Meghan posted a lengthy statement on Instagram announcing they're stepping back as senior royals and plan to split their time between the UK and North America. It read: "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. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen.
"It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages. This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity.
MORE: Prince Harry prolongs stay in the UK while Meghan Markle and baby Archie remain in Canada
"We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support."
SussexRoyal.com was unveiled as their new website, with in-depth details about their future aims and their work, but several changes have been made to the site since.
Later on Wednesday evening, Buckingham Palace released a statement from the Queen, which read: "Discussions with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage. We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through."
Thursday 9 January
Meghan has since returned to Canada
The Queen, Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge direct aides to help the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to find "a workable solution" that will allow them to change their royal roles. A meeting is scheduled for Monday 13 January with their four senior royals.
Meanwhile, Meghan flew back to Canada to be reunited with baby Archie, who had reportedly been looked after by his nanny and the Duchess' close friend Jessica Mulroney, while the Sussexes were in London.
Monday 13 January
Harry met with the Queen, Charles and William
Charles, William and Harry were pictured arriving at Sandringham, the Queen's Norfolk estate, on Monday to discuss the Sussexes' future roles. Ahead of the meeting, brothers William and Harry released a joint emotional statement in response to reports of sibling bullying. It read: "Despite clear denials, a false story ran in a UK newspaper today speculating about the relationship between The Duke of Sussex and The Duke of Cambridge. For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful."
On Monday evening, the Queen released one of her most personal statements yet, referring to her grandson and his wife by their names, in support of their decision. It read: "Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family. My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan's desire to create a new life as a young family. 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.
MORE: Meghan Markle pictured on secret visit as she embarks on new life in Canada
"Harry and Meghan have made clear that they do not want to be reliant on public funds in their new lives. It has therefore been agreed that there will be a period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the UK. These are complex matters for my family to resolve, and there is some more work to be done, but I have asked for final decisions to be reached in the coming days."
It was expected that Meghan would dial into the meeting from Canada via a conference call, but a palace source told HELLO!: "The Sussexes decided that it wasn’t necessary for The Duchess to join."
Tuesday 14 January
Meghan visited Justice For Girls in Vancouver
Meghan was pictured boarding a seaplane to Vancouver and it later emerged she had carried out private visits to the Downtown Eastside Women's Centre and Justice For Girls charities.
Thursday 15 January
Harry makes his first public appearance since the announcement, as he hosts the Rugby League World Cup 2021 draws at Buckingham Palace. It was thought that Prince Harry, 35, would fly to Canada to be reunited with his wife and son after the engagement, but a palace source told HELLO!: "The Duke has some meetings here early next week."
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