BREAKING NEWS: Megxit: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to Step Back From Royal Life

Katriona Page, Copy Editor

On Jan. 8, 2020, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex made the shocking announcement that they would be “step[ping] back” from their official royal duties and positions as “‘senior’ members of the Royal Family.” 

“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year to carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” the couple said in a statement through their official Instagram handle, @sussexroyals. “It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment.”

They included that they would “work to become financially independent” and would be splitting their time evenly between the United Kingdom and North America, a “geographic balance” they feel would benefit their son, Archie, and allow them to “focus on the next chapter.” 

The announcement blindsided not only the world, but the rest of the royal family, as well. The couple was forced to release the statement without appropriate approval because British tabloid the Sun had caught wind of the news and was already preparing a story, according to the New York Times. Hours after Prince Harry and Markle disclosed their plans, the Queen released a statement emphasizing that the particulars were still uncertain. 

“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,”according to a statement made by the Queen’s office in a statement. 

According to CNBC, the Queen was reportedly “hurt” and “disappointed” with the handling of the situation, and on Jan. 12, 2020, she called for an emergency family meeting to take place the next day, Jan. 13, at her Sandringham estate. The Queen, Prince Harry, Prince Charles and Prince Williams were all in attendance.

“My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family,” the Queen said in a statement released on Jan. 13. “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.”

Additionally, the royal family has agreed on a transition period during which the Sussexes will split their time between Canada and the U.K.

Global reactions to the decision varied. In Britain, tabloids savaged the couple, signaling their displeasure at the announcement. Elsewhere, responses were more nuanced, with some saying the couple’s decision was justified, especially due to Markle’s harsh, sometimes racist, treatment by the British media.

Questions such as who will pay for the couple’s security and whether they will be allowed to keep their royal titles have yet to be answered.