The tone of statements issued by Buckingham Palace in the past 13 months about ‘Megxit’ has changed dramatically – with the couple referred to as ‘Harry and Meghan’ last January, but now ‘the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’.
Among those spotting the difference was former BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt, who tweeted that the ‘personal touch is gone and the irritation at choosing freedom over duty shines through’.
In the first statement on January 13 last year, the Queen spoke warmly about her family having ‘very constructive discussions’ and that she was ‘entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family’.
The monarch also spoke of the ‘complex matters for my family to resolve’ but did stress that she had ‘asked for final decisions to be reached in the coming days’, suggesting urgency was required.
In a second statement on January 18 last year, the Queen said she was ‘pleased that together we have found a constructive and supportive way forward for my grandson and his family’, again calling them by name rather than title.
She also spoke of the ‘ challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years’, adding that she was ‘particularly proud of how Meghan has so quickly become one of the family’.
The statement also included words on behalf of Harry and Meghan, which said: ‘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.’
But the statement issued today was remarkably different, referring to the couple only as ‘the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’, with no reference to Archie or Harry being the Queen’s grandson.
It also said the family were ‘are saddened by their decision’, but added: ‘The Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family.’ Here are the three statements:
JANUARY 13, 2020
Statement from Her Majesty the Queen
Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family.
My family and I are 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.
Harry and Meghan have made clear that they do not want to be reliant on public funds in their new lives.
It has therefore been agreed that there will be a period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the UK.
These are complex matters for my family to resolve, and there is some more work to be done, but I have asked for final decisions to be reached in the coming days.
JANUARY 18, 2020
Statement from Her Majesty the Queen
Following many months of conversations and more recent discussions, I am pleased that together we have found a constructive and supportive way forward for my grandson and his family.
Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family.
I recognise 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.
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 is my whole family’s hope that today’s agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life.
Statement from Buckingham Palace
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.
As agreed in this new arrangement, they understand that they are required to step back from Royal duties, including official military appointments. They will no longer receive public funds for Royal duties.
With The Queen’s blessing, the Sussexes will continue to maintain their private patronages and associations. While they can no longer formally represent The Queen, the Sussexes have made clear that everything they do will continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty.
The Sussexes will not use their HRH titles as they are no longer working members of the Royal Family.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have shared their wish to repay Sovereign Grant expenditure for the refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, which will remain their UK family home.
Buckingham Palace does not comment on the details of security arrangements. There are well established independent processes to determine the need for publicly-funded security.
This new model will take effect in the Spring of 2020.
FEBRUARY 19, 2021 (TODAY)
Buckingham Palace statement on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex
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.
Following conversations with The Duke, The Queen has written confirming that in stepping away from the work of The Royal Family it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service. The honorary military appointments and Royal patronages held by The Duke and Duchess will therefore be returned to Her Majesty, before being redistributed among working members of The Royal Family.
While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family.