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Prince Harry & Meghan Markle Answer Tons of Questions After News They're Stepping Back From Royal Duties

Prince Harry & Meghan Markle Answer Tons of Questions After News They're Stepping Back From Royal Duties

Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Markle are officially stepping back from their royal responsibilities as senior members of the royal family and splitting their time between the UK and North America.

“In 2020, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have made the choice to transition into a new working model. As they step back as senior members of the Royal Family and no longer receive funding through the Sovereign Grant, they will become members of the Royal Family with financial independence which is something they look forward to. As The Duke and Duchess of Sussex prepare to make this change, the answers to the following questions aim to provide clarity on existing and future funding arrangements,” they wrote on their newly launched website.

They are now answering some questions, as they anticipated the public would be curious about their new roles.

Click inside to see what questions Prince Harry and Meghan Markle answered…

Why are The Duke and Duchess of Sussex choosing this new working model?
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex take great pride in their work and are committed to continuing their charitable endeavours as well as establishing new ones. In addition, they value the ability to earn a professional income, which in the current structure they are prohibited from doing. For this reason they have made the choice to become members of the Royal Family with financial independence. Their Royal Highnesses feel this new approach will enable them to continue to carry out their duties for Her Majesty The Queen, while having the future financial autonomy to work externally. While the contribution from The Sovereign Grant covers just five percent of costs for The Duke and Duchess and is specifically used for their official office expense, Their Royal Highnesses prefer to release this financial tie. More details on the specifics of the Sovereign Grant are outlined below.

What is the Sovereign Grant?
The Sovereign Grant is the annual funding mechanism of the monarchy that covers the work of the Royal Family in support of HM The Queen including expenses to maintain official residences and workspaces. In this exchange, The Queen surrenders the revenue of the Crown Estate and in return, a portion of these public funds are granted to The Sovereign/The Queen for official expenditure. This is outlined in the 2018-19 Annual Report of the Sovereign Grant which is linked below. Please note, this structure replaced The Civil List in 2012. More details on this can be found on The United Kingdom’s public sector information website: gov.uk

By becoming financially independent, will The Duke and Duchess of Sussex be cutting ties with the monarchy?
As working members of the Royal Family, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain dedicated to maximising Her Majesty’s legacy both in the UK and throughout the Commonwealth. They will continue to proudly do so by supporting their patronages and carrying out works for The Monarchy within the UK or abroad, as called upon.

Have The Duke and Duchess of Sussex benefited from public funding and tax benefits as members of the Royal Family?
Five percent of the funding for their official office was provided through the Sovereign Grant starting in 2019 (more details on Sovereign Grant below). Public funding has never been used, nor would it ever be used for private expenditure by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who also do not receive any tax privileges.

Why did The Duke and Duchess move to Windsor as their Official Residence?
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex chose to move to Windsor for various reasons. Their previous residence of Nottingham Cottage on the grounds of Kensington Palace could not accommodate their growing family. The option of Apartment 1 in Kensington Palace was estimated to cost in excess of £4 million for mandated renovations including the removal of asbestos (see details above on the Monarchy’s responsibility for this upkeep). This residence would not have been available for them to occupy until the fourth quarter of 2020. As a result, Her Majesty The Queen offered The Duke and Duchess the use of Frogmore Cottage, which was already undergoing mandated renovations, and would be available to move in before the birth of their son. The refurbishment cost equated to 50 percent of the originally suggested property for their proposed official residence at Kensington Palace. It is for these reasons, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex chose Frogmore Cottage as their Official Residence.

Given their transition into members of the Royal Family with financial independence, will The Duke and Duchess of Sussex maintain their residence at Frogmore Cottage?
Frogmore Cottage will continue to be the property of Her Majesty the Queen. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will continue to use Frogmore Cottage – with the permission of Her Majesty The Queen – as their official residence as they continue to support the Monarchy, and so that their family will always have a place to call home in the United Kingdom.

How will The Duke and Duchess of Sussex handle media relations in the future?
In the spring of 2020, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be adopting a revised media approach to ensure diverse and open access to their work. This adjustment will be a phased approach as they settle into the new normality of their updated roles. This updated approach aims to:
• Engage with grassroots media organisations and young, up-and-coming journalists;
• Invite specialist media to specific events/engagements to give greater access to their cause-driven activities, widening the spectrum of news coverage;
• Provide access to credible media outlets focused on objective news reporting to cover key moments and events;
• Continue to share information directly to the wider public via their official communications channels;
• No longer participate in the Royal Rota system.

What is the ‘Royal Rota’ system?
The Royal Rota was established more than 40 years ago as a way of giving UK print and broadcast media exclusive inside access to the official engagements of members of the Royal Family. Under this system, the rota, or pool, gives these British media representatives the opportunity to exclusively cover an event, on the understanding that they will share factual material obtained with other members of their sector who request it. The current system predates the dramatic transformation of news reporting in the digital age. The core group of UK outlets with Royal Rota access remain the predominant news source through which worldwide media organisations receive content on the official engagements of members of the Royal Family. These UK media outlets are: The Daily Express, The Daily Mail, The Daily Mirror, The Evening Standard, The Telegraph, The Times, The Sun.

Is this change of policy being adopted by other members of the Royal Family?
The changes outlined above apply to The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and their son, Archie. They do not speak on behalf of the other members of The Royal Family in regards to their media relations policies.

See more from the Q&A over at People.

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Photos: Getty
Posted to: Extended, Meghan Markle, Prince Harry

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