Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan's plan to "carve out a progressive new role" as they step down from their senior positions will prompt a "major change" that may take some time to figure out, but the Royal Family will emerge from it strong, even if it looks a bit different, a Canadian royal expert says.
Change is, after all, the only constant. And Patricia Treble, who has followed the Royal Family for more than 15 years and covered them extensively for Maclean's, told HELLO! Canada it's something the family knows very well.
"The Royal Family is always evolving, sometimes so incrementally the changes are barely perceptible, occasionally by giant leaps, such as this decision," she said. "And that is the reason why it has lasted a thousand years."
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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
The Royal Family is keen to help Harry and Meghan, too, and already starting to adjust to the changes, according to a new report from HELLO! UK's Emily Nash. On Jan. 9, the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William reportedly directed their aides to assist the Sussexes in coming up with "a workable solution." They are said to be hoping to solve the issue within days instead of weeks.
"They want to try to do something different and the family is resolved to help them see if it can be done," an insider said. "There is a lot to do, but people are calm and focused on making this work."
Meghan and Harry's announcement came the day after they returned to work following a six-week break from royal duties. During their time off, they reportedly stayed in North Saanich, B.C., and celebrated Christmas here. In revealing their news, the couple emphasized they want to divide their time between the United Kingdom and North America and continue to serve the Queen and the Commonwealth.
"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 a new chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity," they wrote.
So, just what does dividing time between the UK and North America look like? Since Meghan and Harry's announcement, the internet has also been ablaze with rumour and speculation that the couple could move to Canada, given their recent stay here. Their website says they want to maintain Frogmore Cottage as their home in the UK. Meghan also reportedly returned to Canada, where she and Harry were said to have left Archie in the care of their nanny and Jessica Mulroney, on Jan. 9.
Longtime fans of the family know Meghan is originally from Los Angeles, but also has strong connections to our country. She lived in Toronto for seven years while starring on Suits, and has many Canadian friends, including Jessica.
Nothing is for sure right now, but if the Sussexes want to set up a situation where Canada is a "base," that will require some figuring out in terms of permits, Patricia emphasized. But she said she could see the couple taking time each year to explore the country more, and doing things such as cottaging in the Kawarthas or whale watching in Newfoundland.
That said, it's certain the couple will remain committed to their important work.
"They have a lot of good ideas, female empowerment, mental health, all of which are things I think are incredibly important and I think they shine an enormous spotlight on them," Patricia said. "I hope they keep up with all these different things, and it certainly seems like they will."