Prince Harry withdrew from the monarchy “with great sadness,” he said Sunday night.
It was with “great sadness” but without having “no other choice” that he made the decision to withdraw from the British monarchy, Prince Harry finally confided Sunday evening, January 19, in a speech with intimate accents.
“The decision I made for my wife and I was not taken lightly,” but after “months of talks, following years of challenges,” the Duke of Sussex justified his decision on Sunday to the guests of a charity dinner in London.
In this first public speech on the subject since the announcement of his withdrawal, he apologized for “not always having done things right,” without specifying which ones.
“We hoped to continue to serve the Queen, the Commonwealth and my military associations, but without public funding. Unfortunately, that was not possible,” he said.
Some newspapers are projecting into the couple’s new life in Canada, which could lead to television production. “The Daily Mail, for example, asks, “Duke and Duchess of Netflix?
Harry, 35, and his wife Meghan, 38, had revealed on January 8 that they wanted to become financially independent and move to North America with their son Archie. Without telling Harry’s grandmother and father, Elizabeth II and Prince Charles.
While the Duke and Duchess of Sussex initially wanted to keep a foot in the Royal Family, the Queen quickly misled them by announcing Saturday night that they would have to give up “their title of Royal Highness, as they are no longer active members of the Royal Family.
The tabloids, who accused them of “wanting it both ways,” welcomed the fact that the Duke and Duchess, now freed from their “royal obligations,” could no longer “formally represent the Queen. The Sunday Mirror welcomed the fact that “the Queen is ordering a hard Megxit,” in reference to the Brexit scheduled for January 31.
The couple’s stormy relationship with British newspapers, which Harry called “a powerful force” in his Sunday speech, weighed in his decision to step aside. Accused of racism against the mixed-race American actress, the tabloid press regularly attacked Meghan with vitriolic articles.
Royal family protocol expert Alastair Bruce, interviewed by the “Sun”, said the queen has settled the matter with an “iron fist” and that giving up the title of royal highness is tantamount to “abdication”, since Harry is thus demoted to the same rank as thirty other British dukes.
While the couple will retain their titles of Duke and Duchess of Sussex, they will forfeit their royal allowance and will have to repay some of the public expenses they received, including the 2.3 million euros they spent on renovating their home in the United Kingdom.
“This is absolutely unprecedented,” Dickie Arbiter, former royal press secretary, said in the “Sun”, noting that “no member of the royal family has ever repaid money”, even those who had already been deprived of their royal highness status.
The Daily Telegraph said that, faced with the cost of the couple’s radical change of life, Prince Charles would support his son financially for at least a year. The money must “come from his private investment income,” the paper said.
Before the young prince, who will fall from sixth place in the order of succession to the British throne, his mother Lady Diana had also lost this status after her divorce from Charles in 1996. But this was an “honorary title”, obtained by marriage. It was the first time ever that a Windsor native was deprived of this status.
Many commentators draw a parallel with the abdication of King Edward VIII in 1936, who, by marrying a divorced American woman, had relinquished the throne. The latter had not in fact lost his title, but was simply demoted from “His Majesty the King” to “His Royal Majesty the Duke of Windsor”.
Elizabeth II’s decision thus marked a turning point in the history of one of Britain’s oldest institutions, ushering in a new era of tightened functioning around the elder branch alone.
Prince Charles, who is preparing to take over from his 93-year-old mother, had already expressed his desire to “bring (the family) back to a nucleus of high-ranking, full-time working members.
Many royal experts now expect a lower standard of living for the family, many of whose members have a rank worthy of remuneration.
Emotionally, however, “Harry, Meghan and Archie will remain very dear members of my family,” said Elizabeth II. “I will always have the greatest respect for my grandmother, my commander-in-chief,” the emotional Duke of Sussex replied Sunday evening.
The palace’s decisions are to take effect in the spring.