We’ve entered a new era for the Royal family, pushed along by a couple who demanded something different and got it.
Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, disgruntled by their treatment in the United Kingdom, are off to North America.
They’ll keep their his/her royal highness titles, but they won’t use them.
They won’t receive UK public funding but will still take money from the estate of Prince Charles.
This is history in the making for the age-old institution but also, of course, a business deal.
The couple, to keep favour with the public, will repay 2.4 million pounds ($4.5 million) of taxpayer money they poured into an extravagant renovation of Frogmore Cottage, their home behind the walls of Windsor castle.
The house will remain their UK base, but they’ll pay rent.
The British public would have tutted very loudly if they hadn’t.
PHOTO The Queen’s statement was sympathetic to the pressures that had piled upon the couple.
REUTERS: TOBY MELVILLE
They no longer work for the Queen and her own statement at this monumental juncture was sympathetic to the pressures that had piled upon them.
“I recognise the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life,” she states.
Prince Harry will be gone soon — sometime in the northern Spring, which begins at the end of March — not only in name, but also from country.
He’ll still be a prince but won’t be known as Prince Harry, rather the Duke of Sussex.
Meghan will remain the Duchess of Sussex.
North America, we presume Canada, will be the family’s predominant home.
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Details of security, and who will pay for it, have not been revealed.
Presumably the Canadians will have to pick up some of that, but they’re also gaining a major celebrity attraction so they’ll be on lucrative exchange.
The couple has already trademarked the Sussex name, so they clearly don’t want entire privacy.
There’s a commercial and celebrity future that lies ahead.
But the statements that dropped on Saturday evening London time don’t say just how and if they can use the name for commercial benefit.
There are also matters of tax and citizenship.
The couple say they’ll “continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty”.
In reality, they’ve already stepped away from the tradition and it’s a supportive role from afar with a Canadian twist.
This is a clean break.
And nobody really knows what that will look like in the cold light of day.