Queen Elizabeth and the Sussexes have reached an agreement.
Following Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s announcement that they will “step back” as senior royals, Buckingham Palace has released a statement on the details of their arrangement. Specifically: the couple will pay back the taxpayer funds they used to renovate their U.K. home of Frogmore Cottage. And they will no longer use their “HRH” (his or her royal highness) titles. “The Sussexes will not use their HRH titles as they are no longer working members of the Royal Family,” Buckingham Palace said. Significantly, Princess Diana also lost her “HRH” privileges when she divorced Prince Charles.
They will not also not be able to take events on behalf of Queen Elizabeth. In their January 8 statement, the couple wanted to become financially independent while “while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen,” but Buckingham Palace clarified that they will “no longer formally represent The Queen.”
The couple will no longer receive public funds for any of their duties—clearing the way for them to seek monetary independence from the royal family.
The Queen’s statement was remarkably personal: while oftentimes she uses formal titles when addressing her children or grandchildren, here she used first names. “Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,” she wrote, while acknowledging the couple’s struggle in the media spotlight. “I recognize 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.”
Markle, in particular, received words of praise: “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’s a path forward for the Sussexes, who shocked the world when they announced they were stepping back from the royal family. Buckingham Palace has made it clear that the couple will be able to branch out on their own, with the caveat that they will have only a tangential correlation with the Queen herself. As the couple put it: “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.