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Harry and Meghan: Twinning a commercial lifestyle with the privileges of public service crossed the palace’s line

Written by on 19 February 2021

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are stepping away from the working Royal Family for good.

It may be sad for his father’s family, particularly the Queen, but it is good news for the plans that Prince Harry and Meghan are independently pursuing.

There is no rule that expects close relations of the reigning sovereign to dedicate their lives to supporting the monarch’s work – but those that do benefit from special privileges in order to support this work.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.  The photo was taken remotely by friend and photographer Misan Harriman. Image: Prince Harry and Meghan recently announced they are expecting their second child. Pic: Misan Harriman.

These advantages include things like not queuing at airports, motorcades to get to events on time and a staff that is broadly supported with public funds.

Following their wedding at Windsor Castle in May 2018, this was the course most people thought Harry and Meghan would follow. However, they have chosen a different path.

With enterprising zeal, they have secured a career together in the United States that draws on their own characters and talents, which looks like it will bring wealth – more than sufficient for their growing family.

But twinning this commercial lifestyle with the privileges granted by the UK for public service crossed the palace’s line.

Free of this public duty, they still retain titles (he is Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton and Baron Kilkeel) intended for their public service to the Crown.

Also, Harry and son Archie remain sixth and seventh in the line of succession to the Crown, according to statute, and Harry is one of four counsellors of state stood by to enable government business in the event the Queen is away or unwell.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Duke and Duchess of Sussex soon to be available devastating biography �Finding Freedom: Harry & Meghan and the making of a modern royal family' claims they felt shunned by the Royal Family. The Royals moved to LA with their son Archie, where they this week sued unknown paparazzi for taking illegal 'drone' pictures of their son Archie at their California home. (Photo by DPPA/Sipa USA) Image: In a statement, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said they are committed to “live a life of service” Harry and Meghan's interview with Oprah could be a difficult watch for the Royal Family Image: The palace said the couple “remain much-loved members of the family”

These matters may need to be addressed in slow time, however for now Harry and Meghan remain much-loved members of the Queen’s family but out of the working Royal Family.

All patronages and formal appointments in the armed forces are dissolved and they are free to shape their chosen lives.

It is a significant moment for Harry and Meghan but, after a thousand years of navigation through the vicissitudes of history, it is not so significant for the Crown.