Well, the time has come to catch up on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Obviously by now their “farewell tour” has come and gone, and we’ll get to that as we delve into March, but for the purposes of this post I want to focus on the news that came out at the end of February re: the use of “Sussex Royal” for the couple’s branding in their new non-royal, North American life. God help us all.
Well. It’s been three days since the Palace announced a Sussexit decision. On the day-of I did an informal chat with a few of you on Instagram, but I ended up holding off on a full post since details were still emerging through the evening and into the rest of the weekend. I’m glad that I waited, because I think we have a fuller picture of what’s happening now, but thank you for your patience as the dust settled!
In case there wasn’t enough royal drama going on for you, there’s an update in the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s lawsuit against the Mail on Sunday and its parent company, Associated Newspapers. As quick background, the Sussexes announced their suit in early October while they were touring South Africa. News broke alongside a passionate statement from Harry expressing his anger at how tabloids were covering his wife and comparing the situation to that which his mother experienced in the 1990s.
The crux of the issue is the publication of a letter Meghan wrote her father in the summer of 2018, which the Mail on Sunday published in February 2019. Per British copyright law, Meghan is the legal owner of her letter, and thus the suit argues, the tabloid didn’t have the right to publish excerpts without her mission. The suit also alleges that the letter was edited.
The work goes on. Today, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge carried out a series of engagements in Bradford, a town in West Yorkshire, for their first joint appearance of the New Year. It’s also the couple’s first away day of 2020, which the two have been doing more and more of over the last two years in an effort to see and be seen by more of England.
Yesterday was another marathon day for the Royal Family as they negotiate new roles for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. The Queen’s statement made clear that details are still being sorted, and in the meantime, the rest of the family is handling intense media scrutiny as they go about their daily business.
For starters, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have now both been photographed driving their children to school, a task they try to handle every day, usually without incident. That there are now photographers waiting for them at Kensington Palace’s gates is indicative of current interest in the Sussex situation, but also a warning of what could come. Without the Sussexes balancing out royal duties with the Cambridges, there’s potentially a lot more expectation concentrated on two adults and their three young children. I think we know enough about William to know he is not pleased.
Happy Monday, everyone. It’s been a very full four days since we last checked in here on Sussexit, so let’s get right to it. Following a meeting this afternoon at Sandringham between the Queen, Prince of Wales, and Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex, the Queen released the following statement:
“Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family.
“My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family. Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working Members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family.
“Harry and Meghan have made clear that they do not want to be reliant on public funds in their new lives. It has therefore been agreed that there will be a period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the UK. These are complex matters for my family to resolve, and there is some more work to be done, but I have asked for final decisions to be reached in the coming days.”
Well. Wednesday was a crazy day. If you missed the drama, then you can catch up here on the initial wave of reporting. Today, we’re going to touch on some odds and ends that didn’t make it into my initial post because of all the information coming out, as well as weigh in on some of the reactions and narratives beginning to build.
[N.B. The below post was written before the Sussexes’ news yesterday. Since it’s not overly relevant to this topic, I haven’t edited it, save one little note at the end.]
Before we get started, Happy Birthday to the Duchess of Cambridge, who turns 38 today! The occasion was marked at Anmer Hall last weekend, but I’m sure there are some day-of festivities planned now that the family has returned to London. We’ll next see her out and about on Wednesday when she and the Duke visit Bradford for their first engagement of the new year.
With that, let’s turn to the matter at hand: last year’s engagement numbers. If you keep up with royal news then you may have seen the end-of-year articles tracking who the “hardest working” member of the Royal Family was in 2019. If you read more than one, then you may have noticed very different statistics get reported. There’s no exact science to these tallies – what constitutes an engagement is in the eye of the beholder, however the most traditional approach is to count it if it made it into the Court Circular.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex just announced on Instagram that they are stepping back from the Royal Family and, beginning this year, will split their time between England and North America. Per their statement, they still intend to support their patronages, but their charitable foundation sounds like it will be separate, and they will be working towards becoming “financially independent.”
Apparently they chose the nuclear option.
*Updated portion at the end of the post.
[Note: This post went live two hours before the Sussexes’ announcement about their 2020 plans. You can catch up on that here.]
British tabloid The Sun is reporting that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are seriously considering a more permanent move to Canada after the success of their six-week break. According to sources on background described as “friends,” the couple might leave the UK while still carrying out royal duties and maintaining staff based at Buckingham Palace. On the table is the possibility that they will drop their HRHs.