Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, will no longer be working members of the Royal Family and will, therefore, no longer use their royal titles or taxpayer money, according to a statement from Buckingham Palace released Saturday.
“As agreed in this new arrangement, they understand that they are required to step back from Royal duties, including official military appointments,” the statement reads. “They will no longer receive public funds for Royal duties.”
The changes will take place in the spring.
The decision follows weeks of uncertainty and hastily called family meetings after the couple announced they would be stepping back from their senior roles within the Royal Family and spending more time in North America.
In a surprising Instagram message posted at the beginning of 2020, the pair called the move “a progressive new role within this institution” and expressed a desire to become financially independent.
In line with that objective, the Sussexes intend to repay costs for the controversial refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, according to Saturday’s palace statement. It will remain the couple’s U.K. residence.
The historic home, which is located just south of Windsor Castle and offers more privacy, was the subject of scrutiny last year. Media reports revealed renovations to the building — which cost an estimated £2.4 million ($ 4 million Cdn) — were coming from the Sovereign Grant, the monarchy’s taxpayer-funded account for official expenses.
Q&A | Watch as royal commentator Katie Nicholl discusses Harry and Meghan coming to Canada:
Prince Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, spent their Christmas holidays in B.C. and are planning to live in Canada part time. The couple has battled intense media attention since their relationship became public in 2016. The coverage has continued after the birth of their son, Archie.
In a British documentary released last year after becoming parents, Markle didn’t hide the fact that living under a microscope was a struggle and has taken a toll on her mental health.
“It’s a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes,” she told ITV reporter Tom Bradby.
It remains unclear whether the Canadian government will cover security costs for the couple. Buckingham Palace won’t comment on details of those arrangements, but says there are “well established independent processes to determine the need for publicly-funded security.”
In an unusually personal message added to the Palace statement, the Queen said she is “particularly proud of how Meghan has so quickly become one of the 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,” said the Queen. “It is my whole family’s hope that today’s agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life.”
A statement from Her Majesty The Queen.<a href=”https://t.co/ZAPC5ARUup”>https://t.co/ZAPC5ARUup</a>