Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle will no longer use “royal highness” titles and won’t receive public money for their royal duties, Buckingham Palace revealed Saturday.
What’s more, the pair will pay back the money they spent on renovations for Frogmore Cottage, which will remain their home in the U.K. The repairs cost British taxpayers about $3.06 million, according to the royal accounts. They have also reportedly laid off much of their Frogmore staff as they prepare to spread across the globe; staffers will join other royal households.
Queen Elizabeth II said in a statement: “Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family. 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.”
The queen said she hopes that Harry and Meghan will be able “to start building a happy and peaceful new 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.”
On January 8th, they announced their intention to step down from senior royal roles and split their time between the U.K. and North America; they will still appear at certain royal events.
Despite forgoing their use of public funds, the pair will reportedly still be supported financially by Prince Charles.
HARRY SHARES HIS SIDE
On Sunday, Harry attended an event for supporters of his Sentebale charity, an organization that aims to help the health of children with HIV.
He referenced his decision, saying, in part: “It brings me great sadness that it has come to this. The decision that I have made for my wife and I to step back, is not one I made lightly. It was so many months of talks after so many years of challenges. And I know I haven’t always gotten it right, but as far as this goes, there really was no other option. What I want to make clear is we’re not walking away, and we certainly aren’t walking away from you.”
He continued: “Our hope was to continue serving the Queen, the commonwealth, and my military associations, but without public funding. Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible. I’ve accepted this, knowing that it doesn’t change who I am or how committed I am. But I hope that helps you understand what it had to come to, that I would step my family back from all I have ever known, to take a step forward into what I hope can be a more peaceful life.”
The prince added, “I will always have the utmost respect for my grandmother, my commander in chief, and I am incredibly grateful to her and the rest of my family, for the support they have shown Meghan and I over the last few months. I will continue to be the same man who holds his country dear and dedicates his life to supporting the causes, charities and military communities that are so important to me. Together, you have given me an education about living. And this role has taught me more about what is right and just than I could have ever imagined. We are taking a leap of faith – thank you for giving me the courage to take this next step.”
Meanwhile, Meghan is reportedly looking for new digs in one of Canada’s toniest neighborhoods. She is allegedly eyeing a $27 million waterfront property in Vancouver.
The 108-year-old four-level 6,900 square foot property in Vancouver’s Kitsilano hood, with views of the Pacific Ocean and the Vancouver skyline. It features six bedrooms, five bathrooms and 20 feet of beachside walls.
She and 8-month-old Archie are hanging in Canada while Harry wraps things up in the U.K.
Their arrangements and agreements will reportedly be reviewed in a year.