- Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, announced today that they will be stepping back from their roles as senior members of the British royal family.
- In doing so, the couple plans to gain financial independence from the crown.
- Below, we track what financial independence means for this royal couple.
After a whirlwind end to 2019, the Sussexes officially announced that they will be stepping down as senior members of the royal family. Though they said that they will continue “to fully support Her Majesty The Queen,” Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan will also “work to become financially independent.” So what exactly does financial independence mean under royal circumstances?
From the Sovereign Grant to royal duchies, we answer all your burning questions about the details of the royals’ future financing here.
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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
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How will Harry and Meghan earn money in the future?
Though the Sussex Royal website remains vague about where they’ll receive their future income, it does hint that the couple’s “new working model” will allow them to hold actual jobs.
“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,” the website reads. “In addition, they value the ability to earn a professional income, which in the current structure they are prohibited from doing.”
The website also states that other royal family members have retained their titles while working. “There is precedent for this structure and applies to other current members of the Royal Family who support the monarch and also have full time jobs external to their commitment to the monarchy,” it reads.
How do Harry and Meghan currently get funding?
Members of the royal family receive income from many sources, and these figures are released to the public annually.
Currently, Harry and Meghan rely on the Sovereign Grant, or money paid by the government to support the queen’s official duties, for about 5 percent of their office expenses. The couple would “prefer to release this financial tie,” their website explains.
The other 95 percent of their expenditures are covered by Charles, Prince of Wales, who gets most of his income from the Duchy of Cornwall. Royal duchies include the land, property, and assets that are held by a duke or duchess. There are only two royal duchies in England—the other being the Duchy of Lancaster, which currently financially supports Queen Elizabeth.
The Duchy of Cornwall includes approximately 53,000 hectares of land, mostly in the South West of England, and its principal activity consists of sustainable and commercial management of land and properties, according to its website. The duchy also has a financial investment portfolio.
Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, also receive funds originating from the Duchy of Cornwall.
Prince William visits duchy home farm with Prince Charles in 2004.
How does the Sovereign Grant work?
The Sovereign Grant is a single, consolidated payment made annually by the government to the queen. This system of funding came into effect in 2012, replacing the Civil List and the three Grants-in-Aid.
A percentage of funding for the grant indirectly comes from the Crown Estate revenue, or profit made from a collection of properties that belong to the reigning monarch. While the Crown Estate belongs to the monarch, “it cannot be sold by the monarch, nor do revenues from it belong to the monarch,” according to its website. The government also cannot own the estate. Instead, an independent board, also known as The Crown Estate Commissioners, manages the properties.
All revenue from the Crown Estate is paid to the Treasury. The Treasury then decides to pay a portion of this, along with income from general taxes and other sources, to the monarch through the Sovereign Grant.
Do Harry and Meghan currently hold jobs?
According to the couple’s website, “Under the current structure and financing arrangements, they are prohibited from earning any income in any form.” They also do not earn any money from their charity work.
Will Harry and Meghan be cutting off all ties with the royal family?
Although Harry and Meghan plan to gain their own income separate from the crown, they still seem dedicated to honoring the queen.
“Their Royal Highnesses feel this new approach will enable them to continue to carry out their duties for Her Majesty The Queen,” their website reads, “while having the future financial autonomy to work externally.”
It looks like a minimal role in royal affairs and financial independence will exist simultaneously. So rest easy, royal fans.
From: Harper’s BAZAAR US