Stepping Back of Harry and Meghan as Senior Royal Members

by Shatakshi Gupta

The beginning of the New Year is not very pleasant for the Royal Family of the United Kingdom, as on 18th January 2020 there was a big announcement by the royal family that Prince Harry and  Princess Meghan are no longer working members of the royal family and will stop receiving funds for royal duties. In this article, we will try to explain to you the whole thing in a crisp and simple manner. So let us begin with it.

To understand the gravity of the major announcement it is important to understand little about the Royal family of the United Kingdom. The U.K. is a constitutional monarchy, unlike India which is a constitutional republic. In England royal family is very important as the monarch on the throne act as the ceremonial head of the state, it means all bills in parliament will become active after crown’s assent, British Prime Minister takes an oath in the name of Crown. Also, there are many royal duties that are conferred upon many royal members and those members are called ‘senior royals’ of the royal family of Britain. The royal family performs almost 2000 duties every year which consists of raising funds for a social cause, meeting foreign dignitaries, strengthening bilateral relations of England and so on . These are some reasons due to which this family is so prestigious in England. The family lives a very lavish life and for this they get a dedicated fund for this from the English Parliament every year. This fund comes from the revenue generated by Royal properties itself.

Now moving towards Prince Harry , he got married to Meghan Merkel in 2018 , Meghan is basically from Canada and she was an actress earlier. After marriage she got the royal title of HRH ( His / her Royal Highness ) . All was going Hunky-dory, then what happened which made the couple to take such step, well one thing here is important to know that no one can tell exact reason because the royal family observes high secrecy but there are some news which tell some reasons. Firstly, the Prince and Princess were so much upset with media coverage, being a royal members they were followed everywhere by media and even petty issues of their life were getting a place in newspapers. Secondly, some are saying that people do not give much respect to Meghan Merkel due to his Afro American line of descent. Also , the couple wanted to become independent financially but some critics are saying that they were not able to cope up with the official duties. There could be some other reasons also.  But after months of discussion couple declared that “ After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen .” The couple decided to split their time and spend some time in UK and the remaining in Canada. After this, the Queen stated that, ” many months of conversations and more recent discussions ” she was , “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 many loved members of my family. “

This instance is first of its kind in the royal family. Now, what does this declaration mean? This announcement will have many repercussions. First of all both Prince Harry and Princess Meghan have to drop their HRH ( His / her) Royal Highness ) title. However, according to reports, they will still be called Duke and Duchess of Sussex. After dropping this title they will get rid of their official duties and will be no more entitled to the royal grant. Also, they have to pay rent for the  Frogmore Cottage which will be used by the couple when they spend their time in the UK and also they have to pay the refurbishment cost spent on this Cottage, which is around 2.4 million pounds sterling ( INR 22,19,20,626 ). Another most important aspect of this development is regarding the security of the couple, both UK and Canada seem reluctant to pay for the security of the couple as this requires a huge sum of money, because still being royal family members they will be under heavy security. Some reports are coming that the couple itself will pay for their security.

We will see further updates in the next few months, but presently most people in Britain are criticizing this step as the couple is stepping back from their royal duties. Also,, people are saying that this step might provoke other family members to do the same which can undermine the position of the Crown . Whereas others are taking it as a welcome move as the couple wants to become independent . Whatever, people think about it but the couple is very happy from this decision though they do not want to drop HRH ( His / her Royal Highness ) title , but still they are cherishing this .