The Handbook
The Handbook

It’s no wonder that viewing figures for season three of The Crown are down, how could it compete with the real thing? And now Prince Andrew’s paedo storyline has been well and truly eclipsed by Harry and Meghan’s shock announcement their abrupt departure from the show, we’re here to suss out the Sussexes. Here’s everything we “know” so far about Megxit.

What did the Duke and Duchess just announce?

Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, just announced that they’re going to step back as ‘senior’ members of the royal family. ‘After many months of reflection” they have decided they’ll balance their time between North America and the UK and ‘carve out a progressive new role within this institution’ while working ‘to become financially independent’.

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“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. 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.” – The Duke and Duchess of Sussex For more information, please visit sussexroyal.com (link in bio) Image © PA

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Is this a big thing?

Yeah, it’s basically massive. Being compared to Edward VIII’s abdication. Like big big royal news. They’re ‘quitting the firm’.

So the queen must be pissed?

Apparently she’s livid! Reports in today’s papers suggest that she’s “deeply disappointed” while Princes Charles and William are said to be “incandescent with rage”.

Just zeroing in on the whole ‘financially independent’ thing, so we won’t be paying them any more? What’s the beef?

Currently Prince Harry receives cash in return for his ‘prince-ing’ activities, as well as a London apartment in Kensington Palace. The new arrangement would see him ‘go it alone’.

So they’d be broke?

Not quite. He and William both received £14m each from the Queen Mother, plus money from Diana, and he’s reportedly got a fortune of around £30m. As a TV star Meghan Markle was hardly on her uppers either, and is estimated to be ‘worth’ £5m. In addition, Harry will still receive a cool £4 million a year pocket money from Prince Charles’s vast estates (and biscuit business) the Duchy of Cornwall.

Still, we’re not on the hook for them?

Well, we did £2.6m pay to refurbish Frogmore Cottage, the couple’s not-so-cottage-like pad near Windsor Castle, which they’ll be keeping hold of at taxpayer expense, and they also want to keep their security, which currently bills at £600k a year (though this new jet-set role may well be more expensive to police).

Did they tell the Queen?

Apparently not. It seems she was somewhat taken aback by the whole thing. It sounds like there were possibly plans in place to discuss a new role, but it seems that everyone, including their own staff, was blindsided when Harry and Meghan announced it.

What brought this all on?

A stamp, apparently. Royal Mail released a stamp last week featuring Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince George. It seems that this was seen as the direction of travel in the royal family, that the future didn’t hold a place for Harry and Meghan and, in what’s seen as a fit of pique, they’ve railroaded their new plans.

But the bigger picture is one where Meghan, particularly, has felt particular strain in joining the royal circus. She said as much in a much-publicised documentary at the end of last year, admitting the adjustment had been “hard”.  Meanwhile Harry and Meghan are embroiled in lawsuits against the Mail on Sunday and has said “I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces… I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditised to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person”.

Oh, probably not a factor, but it’s Kate’s birthday today. Given the Cambridges’ and Sussexes’ feuds, maybe this was a parting gift?

Where will they live?

They’ve announced the UK (so, presumably, Frogmore) but ‘North America’ leaves things a little vague. She has family in California, and given LA’s obsession with all things celebrity it’s likely they’d be very welcome there. But while filming suits Meghan is reported to have fallen in love with Toronto, which is where she now has many friends and roots. Also, it’s in Canada which would help smooth royal wheels as Harry could still do some freelance royal-ing.

Will they keep their titles?

It seems unlikely that they’ll be stripped of their titles, though they may themselves decide to shun them. Princess Anne decided that her children wouldn’t take royal titles, and without the perks maybe they will be moved to become the artist formerly known as Prince?

What will they do for work?

Well he’ll no doubt continue to be involved with things like the Invictus Games and causes close to his heart such as his African charities. But expect the future to be telly, stand aside the Kardashians…

And what happens next?

Well it’s not particularly clear. Probably lots of Buckingham Palace crisis meetings over the next few days, then, presumably, they’ll start planning for this next stage. When Edward VIII left the fold, becoming the Duke of Windsor, he never came back, spending the next thirty years partying before fizzling out. Somehow, we don’t think Meghan will let that happen, this certainly ain’t the last we’ve heard of the Sussexes…