On Jan. 8, Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan announced plans on Instagram to "step down" as senior members of the Royal Family and to "work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen."
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's stunning revelation made many royal watchers ask countless questions, including how they plan to work toward that financial goal. Their Sussex Royal website includes some information on that, and they say they'll no longer use the Sovereign Grant during their transition.
"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," the website explains.
What is the Sovereign Grant?
The Sovereign Grant is the name given to the new consolidated system of funding of the Queen and Royal Family's official duties, according to the official royal website. In 2012, it replaced the Civil List and the three Grants-in-Aid (for Royal Travel, Communications and Information, and the Maintenance of the Royal Palaces).
(The royal website also publishes the financial reports of the Sovereign Grant so the public can see how expenses are broken down.)
The Sussex Royal website states that Harry and Meghan "value the ability to earn a professional income, which in the current structure they are prohibited from doing."
Currently, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex do not benefit financially from any charity or cause-driven work they take. Under the current structure, they are "prohibited from earning any income in any form," their website says.
Where Harry and Meghan want to go from here
The Sussexes say that is why they've decided to seek 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," their website continues.
It also states that prior to their decision, the Sovereign Grant was specifically used for their official office expense and only covered five per cent of their costs. The website states, "Their Royal Highnesses prefer to release this financial tie."
The site says remaining 95 per cent of funding for The Office of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex was derived from income allocated by Prince Charles, generated through the Duchy of Cornwall. This system was in place since the Sussexes' office was established and "since Prince William and Prince Harry first established their offices in support of The Queen," it continues.
Harry and Meghan say they hope it will be beneficial to no longer use the Sovereign Grant.
"This phased approach will take time to transition in consultation with other senior members of the Royal Family," the Sussex Royal website continues. "But Their Royal Highnesses are hopeful that this change is in the best interest for all and look forward to carrying out their duties to the monarch as well as their charitable work with financial autonomy."
In terms of travel costs, arrangements made by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in their private time will still be paid for privately, and not by UK taxpayers, the site says. It also states this fact will not change during the transition.
The couple say they also plan to consider more environmentally friendly travel options, with Sussex Royal.
"Wherever possible and unless advised otherwise on security grounds, their logistical arrangements are undertaken via commercial air carriers, local trains and fuel-efficient vehicles, be it for official or personal travel," the site continues.
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“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. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages. This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity. We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.” - The Duke and Duchess of Sussex For more information, please visit sussexroyal.com (link in bio) Image © PA
On Jan. 8, Harry and Meghan announced their plans with an Instagram post, in which they said they still intend to still serve the Queen by dividing their time between the United Kingdom and North America. They said they hope they will be able to honour the Commonwealth, along with their patronages. They also plan to further develop the Sussex Royal charity, with details to be announced in due course.