Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have shared further details on their decision to step away from “senior” roles in the British royal family, suggesting how – and why – they’re gonna defy longstanding traditions and strike out on their own.
In case you missed it, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex this morning announced plans to unshackle themselves from old-school roles in the family, earn their own incomes, and forge a largely independent life with their son Archie in both the UK and North America.
The announcement was a long time in the making, but it still appeared to surprise Harry’s grandma, Queen Elizabeth II.
There’s a huge amount of speculation rolling around at the moment – and an equal quantity of memes – but their website, updated in light of their announcement, helps explain what comes next.
First and foremost, Prince Harry and Meghan appear to have had a gutful of the family’s traditional relationship with the media.
“Their sincere hope is that this change in media policy will enhance access and give The Duke and Duchess the ability to share information more freely with members of the public,” the page states.
Perhaps most notable is their decision to exclude themselves from the Royal Rota system, which has long defined how the family deals with the media.
It’s an interesting relationship: the royal family guarantees outlets on the rota exclusive access to stories of significant public interest, under the condition those outlets don’t run away with shonky reporting.
To keep publications on their side, the family has traditionally given them the first peek at official portraits and other personal news before making those announcements themselves.
Prince Harry and Meghan claim that system is outdated, considering how easily public figures can reach audiences through social media.
“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,” the couple’s site states.
Then there’s the matter of who, exactly, is on the rota. British tabloids The Sun and The Daily Mirror are both listed as rota members. Both have been sued by Prince Harry, who has accused the papers of phone hacking.
Hardly a tenable working relationship, really – and that’s without mentioning the obvious toll of press interference on Meghan’s emotional wellbeing, and the outsized influence of the tabloid media in the life and death of Prince Harry’s mother, Princess Diana.
Expect more social media content and what their site calls engagement with “grassroots media organisations and young, up-and-coming journalists.”
As for their professional lives, Prince Harry and Meghan say they want the ability to make a few quid without dipping into the royal purse. Their site claims “they value the ability to earn a professional income, which in the current structure they are prohibited from doing.”
More jewels for everyone else, we guess. Maybe Prince Harry could become a commercial pilot, and Meghan could enter the legal industry. But not all of their ties to the fam will be severed, as the couple has reaffirmed their commitment to the Royal Family’s charitable endeavours.
It’s unclear what their future charity work will look like, but their site claims it will be “something different – a charitable entity that will not only help complement these efforts, but also advance the solutions the world needs most.”
The couple has also reaffirmed its commitment to royal patronages – that is, different clubs and causes which the royal family has agreed to endorse in an official capacity.
And yes, it certainly appears they will retain their titles and standing in the family.
In short: they’re going to split their time across the Atlantic, do charity work, make bank, hang shit on tabloids, avoid the fustier aspects of being a royal, and aim not to piss off Queen Liz. Let’s see if it pans out.