The Stepping Down of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Melanie Wang

As of February 19th, 2021, Buckingham Palace announced that the “The duke and duchess [of Sussex] have confirmed to Her Majesty, the Queen that they will not be returning as working members of the royal family.” This sparked changes within the royal family and has affected the current living situations for Harry and Meghan. 

Meghan Markle and Harry began thinking about stepping down as Duke and Duchess of Sussex in March of 2020. However, the couple said “service is universal”, implying that they will continue to support organizations. Within 12 months of formally stepping down, Prince Harry and Meghan moved to California where in June 2020, Harry purchased a 14.65 million dollar home in Montecito, California. Following their confirmation, Prince Harry and Meghan had to return their royal patronages and military appointments as they are only for working members of the Royal Family. Their patronages will be returned to the Queen and eventually re-distributed among other working royals such as Prince William, Princess Anne, and the Duchess of Cambridge, etc.

“While we are all saddened by their decision, the duke and duchess remain much-loved members of the family.” said Queen Elizabeth II on January 13th. The Queen later stated that the royal family was “entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family.  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.”

After Meghan Markle officially stepped down she aired a two-hour interview with Oprah Winfrey on CBS Saturday Night. During her interview, Meghan described her life as a member of the royal family. She talks about how her life in the royal family was a fairy tale that quickly turned “cruel” and “suffocating”. Her descriptions raised questions about racial awareness in British society. Given Meghan is biracial, she also mentions how members of the royal family told Harry that they didn’t want their unborn child to become a prince or princess because of the baby’s possible skin color. Harry joined Meghan for the second half of the interview. Adding on to Meghan, he commented, “No one from my family said anything over those three years”. He continues to describe how he was financially cut off by his family after the plans to withdraw from their royal duties were made. Harry also confided that his father, Prince Charles, stopped picking up his calls. In the end, Meghan also became aware of how some British newspapers and tabloids began turning against them by publishing unflattering articles and false information about their newborn son.