When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made the startling announcement in 2020 that they were leaving the Royal Family, it caused controversy. The royal couple has since found the financial independence they were aiming for and have made significant moves after moving to America.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made an impactful statement in January 2020 when they announced they were stepping down as senior royal members.
The royal couple stated they would instead become working individuals to become financially independent and split their time between the UK and the US.
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and his wife Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex pictured at the IGF Reception during day two of the Invictus Games The Hague 2020 at Zuiderpark on April 17, 2022 in The Hague, Netherlands. / Source: Getty Images
"After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year is starting to carve out a progressive 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 Duke and Duchess wrote on their Instagram page.
Following the bombshell statement, which caused shockwaves worldwide, BBC reported that no other royal, including the monarch nor Prince William, were informed before the pair made the announcement.
In addition, Buckingham Palace was reportedly "disappointed," and senior royals were said to be "hurt" by the announcement.
Subsequently, Prince Harry and his wife, Markle, stopped receiving financial support only a month after announcing their plans. The Duke candidly spoke on that experience during an interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021:
"My family literally cut me off financially in the first quarter of 2020."
However, Prince Charles' accounts suggested otherwise, revealing that the couple and the Cambridges were funded $5.4 million for their activities during the 2020-21 financial year. A senior Clarence House spokesperson later stated that the Prince of Wales forked out "a substantial sum" for the Sussexes to transition.
However, a spokesperson for the couple disputed the statement, saying there was no difference in the timeline as the Duke was referring to the first quarter of the financial year. Moreover, seeing that Home Office protected him and his family through the Metropolitan Police, things became difficult for the Sussexes when they had to uproot to North America.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during day two of the Invictus Games 2020 at Zuiderpark on April 17, 2022 in The Hague, Netherlands. / Source: Getty Images
The Firm stripped the Duke and Duchess of protection after announcing their departure from the Royal Family. Prince Harry revealed to Winfrey that he was told that: "due to our change of status – we would no longer be ‘official’ members of the Royal Family."
The father of two expressed his shock at the statement. His wife, Markle, added that she attempted to write to his family, urging them not to pull his security but had been told: "it's just not possible."
When the couple lived in England, they were provided security detail by Metropolitan Police. After the Canadian government announced its decision to stop providing security for the family, Prince Harry and Markle moved to the US.
When they arrived in America, billionaire Tyler Perry offered the Sussexes a home to stay in and security during the first few months. Soon, the couple landed lucrative deals from Netflix and Spotify. The prince later revealed to Winfrey that the said deals were unforeseen:
"From my perspective, all I needed was enough money to be able to pay for security, to keep my family safe."
After relocating to North America, the royal couple secured the deals, which were both said to be worth millions of dollars. However, it is notable that Markle and Prince Harry each had fortunes before the move.
THE SUSSEXES 'ACHIEVED' FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE
The former actress earned a significant income during her stint on the TV series "Suits," raking in $50,000 per episode for the legal drama. Markle also ran a lifestyle blog and designed a fashion line for a Canadian brand.
Meanwhile, Prince Harry and his sibling, Prince William, received an inheritance of $15 million left by their late mother, Princess Diana. According to BBC royal correspondent Nick Witchell, the Duke of Sussex was reportedly left millions by his great-grandmother, the Queen Mother.
Together, Markle and Prince Harry set up an organization called Archewell, which consists of productions and a non-profit foundation.
Since they announced that they were seeking financial independence when they exited the UK, a royal source revealed the Duke and Duchess have eventually achieved that:
"Great credit to them. That has now been achieved."
The insider disclosed to the Daily Mail in June 2022 that the two paid for their flights when they visited England for Easter. In addition, royal officials said they repaid $2.8 million on their Frogmore Cottage home in Windsor, which was a "good deal" for taxpayers.
Accounts showed that Prince Harry and Markle paid for the refurbishment of their former marital home, which they only used once since relocating to the US.
The Sussexes are reportedly also funding the general maintenance of the household, such as maintaining the garden, with tax-funded Sovereign Grant acting as "landlord."
The Sovereign Grant is funding provided to support the monarch's official duties and maintain the Occupied Royal Palaces. A senior royal divulged the rental on the property was calculated independently based on market values:
"I can be confident in saying this is a good deal for the Sovereign Grant and the taxpayer alike."
ROYALS COST TAXPAYERS A LOT OF MONEY
According to Forbes, the British Royal Family costs a chunk of money to UK taxpayers annually. Sovereign Grant accounts revealed in the 2020 financial year, which ended on March 31, that total costs came to $99.3 million.
The royals spent under $80,000 on official duties, including travel or property maintenance. The costs keep rising because Buckingham Palace is undergoing a ten-year renovation project, including heating, plumbing, and electrical systems, dating from the 1950s. They are to be replaced with wiring and piping.
The total amount for the Sovereign Grant for 2019-2020, including the costs for reservicing, equaled $99.2 million in 2018 and $99 million for 2019. It is equivalent to $1.48 per person in Britain.
Moreover, official expenditure by the monarchy has seen a significant rise of $17.9 million or 17% from $105.3 million in 2020/2021. According to the Independent, there is 491 full-time staff paid from the Sovereign Grant, with a wage bill equalling $28.5 million.
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