PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It was a stunning announcement from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on Wednesday. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle say they are stepping back from their duties as members of the royal family — and they’re moving. A Philadelphia-based royals analyst broke down what’s at play with CBS3.
It was a wedding watched by the world — an American actress had found herself a prince, a royal role and a new home in England.
A year later came Archie and now a twist. In a shocking statement, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced that “we intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the royal family. We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America.”
“Other members of the royal family have taken a step back over the years. Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, have taken a step back over the years,” royal watcher Richard Lyntton said.
Lyntton is a local actor. He served as a captain in the British Household Cavalry and his great aunt worked directly for Queen Elizabeth II and the queen mother for 30 years.
“Being a member of the royal family is literally like having a full-time job and people forget that,” Lyntton said, “and it’s not all roses.”
It’s hardly been roses for Duchess Meghan, who has been vocal in her disappointment over constant criticism by British tabloids.
“Unfortunately, [the criticism] even had a racist element to that so again you think to yourself, well why wouldn’t they take a step back? They’ve had enough,” Lyntton said.
The job of a senior royal also requires near-constant travel, representing the queen at occasions around the U.K. and world.
“I don’t think we will see that anymore. We now know they will be dividing their time between [the U.K. and] North America. That could mean the U.S. and Canada as well,” royals expert Roya Nikkhah said.
Several reports have suggested that this sudden announcement came without warning to the Queen herself. A statement from Buckingham Palace said the discussion was in the “early stage” and that “These are complicated issues that will take time to work through.”
The Duke and Duchess also stated that they want to earn their own money, which they have so far been prevented from doing as senior members of the royal family. If this departure proceeds, the pair would likely keep their Frogmore Cottage home and their taxpayer-funded police protection.