On January 8, 2020, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle shocked the world when they announced that they would be stepping down as working members of the royal family. The reaction was mixed. Some members of the public were sympathetic, and some were very much not. But Harry and Meghan simply picked themselves up and prepared to start a brand new life.
Harry himself has only commented on “Megxit” in depth on one occasion. On January 20 he made a speech during an event for the charity Sentebale, saying, “The U.K. is my home and a place that I love. That will never change… The decision that I have made for my wife and I to step back, is not one I made lightly. It was so many months of talks after so many years of challenges.”
The young prince went on, “I was born into this life, and it is a great honor to serve my country and the Queen… I will continue to be the same man who holds his country dear and dedicates his life to supporting the causes, charities and military communities that are so important to me.”
But Harry and Meghan had plans to make a home in a new country: Canada. Who would pay for their security arrangements, which was something such a high-profile couple and their child would definitely need? The officials of Canada made it clear in a statement that it wouldn’t be them.
On February 27 the Royal Canadian Mounted Police released a statement that read, “As the Duke and Duchess are currently recognized as Internationally Protected Persons, Canada has an obligation to provide security assistance on an as-needed basis… The assistance will cease in the coming weeks, in keeping with their change in status.”
Harry and Meghan would have to pay for security themselves. Their website soon announced, “It is agreed that The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will continue to require effective security to protect them and their son… No further details can be shared as this is classified information for safety reasons.”
However, Harry and Meghan probably wouldn’t ever have to really worry about money. Aside from their own personal fortunes – being an actress made Meghan millions – Harry’s father Prince Charles will also keep them going with money from his Duchy of Cornwall estate. The former royals definitely won’t be paupers any time soon.
And what of Harry and Meghan’s staff? Well, they wouldn’t be keeping all of them. An insider told the Daily Mail newspaper, “While the details are still being finalized and efforts are being made to redeploy people within the royal household, unfortunately there will be some redundancies.”
There were claims that this had not gone down well at the palace. On February 15 journalist Neil Sean informed Fox News, “I have been told quite a few staff members had hoped or offered to transfer over to Canada to continue a working relationship [because of] the fact they all loved Prince Harry and working for him.”
Yet other people claimed that the staff were okay with the situation. Another source told the Daily Mail, “The team are very loyal to the Sussexes and understand and respect the decision they have taken. They are all close and supporting each other. The team are busy helping to set their Royal Highnesses up for the future and working on a series of final engagements.”
According to an insider who spoke to Page Six magazine in March, Meghan and Harry had actually thrown a party for their staff before they stepped down. The person said, “They’ve all been through so much together and the staff have been working around the clock to make sure this last visit was as seamless as possible. Meghan and Harry really wanted to show their appreciation, they know how hard everyone has worked.”
Harry and Meghan left a message on their Instagram come March 30, the day before they officially exited the royal family. The post read, “While you may not see us here, the work continues. Thank you to this community – for the support, the inspiration and the shared commitment to the good in the world. We look forward to reconnecting with you soon. You’ve been great!”
Many anonymous insiders have gone to the media and stated what they think of the whole issue. In April 2020 a person described as a “former friend” of Meghan’s spoke to tabloid paper The Sun. They said, “This is the ideal result for her. Anyone who knows her knew this is where it was headed as soon as she said she was unhappy with how things were going in the U.K.”
The anonymous person went on, “She doesn’t have to ask for permission from the Royal Family in how she chooses to live her life, and she can acquire income in all sorts of fields. I imagine she will keep her circles ever more exclusive, hosting dinners at her house, where she can have a controlled environment.”
But what “home” did Harry and Meghan decide on after stepping down from royal life? Well, first they went to Vancouver in Canada, and it appeared to be a good choice. According to people who knew the couple, the royal pair thought Vancouver would be a good place to raise their baby son Archie.
A source told Us Weekly magazine on March 12, “Meghan takes a walk with Archie every single day through the woods. She either pushes him in a stroller through the paved trails through the public woods by their home or straps him on and walks the more rustic routes. The walks usually last around an hour or two, but she takes them daily.”
The anonymous source also told the magazine that the famous royal family member was “very kind to the locals she meets while hiking,” and continued, “She’s all around pleasant to strangers. She is telling friends that she is so happy to be out in nature and [in] their secluded area.”
At around the same time, another insider told People magazine how the young family were feeling. They said, “[Archie’s] doing great. He’s grabbing onto things and picking himself up. He’s starting to have movement, which is really exciting. They are really happy. Harry is the best dad – he’s so into it. And Meghan is a natural.”
However, Harry and Meghan didn’t actually stay in Vancouver for long as it turned out, as pleasant as they seemed to find it. By the end of March they had moved instead to Los Angeles, a place that was of course very familiar to former actress Meghan. Her mother Doria was also stationed in that city.
Once again, it was left to anonymous insiders to explain the details. One of them told The Sun, “This move was planned for some time. They realized Canada would not work out for various reasons, and they want to be based in the Los Angeles area. They have a big support network there.”
Along with the move to Los Angeles came the announcement of Meghan’s first new acting job since marrying Harry. On March 26 news hit that Meghan had done a voiceover for a new Disney project. It was a documentary called Elephant – no prizes for guessing the subject – which would be released on Disney+.
Apparently, Meghan’s voiceover deal had been in the works since before she stepped down as a royal. At the 2019 premiere of The Lion King, the royal couple were overheard speaking to Disney C.E.O. Bob Iger. Harry told him, “You know [Meghan] does voice-overs? Did you know that? You seemed surprised, but yeah, she’s really interested.”
However, Meghan wasn’t lending her voice to the Elephant documentary just for her own benefit. The documentary would help the charity Elephants Without Borders, a cause that had long been dear to both her and Harry’s hearts. The royal couple have long participated in animal conservation efforts, especially in Africa.
As well as the documentary, Meghan apparently has some other plans for future jobs up her sleeve. Back in January a source told The Sun, “Meghan is very connected in the fashion industry, and there are a lot of major labels who would like to partner with her on projects. There have already been active discussions with Givenchy. Some of these deals could be worth millions of pounds.”
Another source told Us Weekly in March that Meghan had “heaps of projects in the works.” According to them, she had plans to relaunch her pre-royal-life blog The Tig, and perhaps write a cookbook. She had written one, Together: Our Community Cookbook, while still a working royal.
Harry and Meghan also apparently plan to use their new path in life to help other people. Both of them aim to launch a big charity organization, although they won’t be using their old name of Sussex Royal as they’re no longer allowed. The reasoning behind this is also detailed on their official website.
In fact, the wording on the website implies that Harry and Meghan weren’t happy with the Sussex Royal decision. It reads, “While there is not any jurisdiction by The Monarchy or Cabinet Office over the use of the word ‘Royal’ overseas, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex do not intend to use ‘Sussex Royal’ or any iteration of the word ‘Royal’ in any territory (either within the U.K. or otherwise) when the transition occurs Spring 2020.”
Once Harry and Meghan arrived in Los Angeles they started looking around for people who could help them with their new, more down-to-earth brand. They began working with a Hollywood-based public relations agency called Sunshine Sachs. The company’s past clients include big names such as Jennifer Lopez and Leonardo DiCaprio.
The royal pair also hired a new chief of staff. This was Catherine St.-Laurent, who had already worked with a very famous company – the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation no less. According to a statement released by Harry and Meghan, they hired her because of her record with “organizations that have tremendous impact in the world.”
St.-Laurent also released a statement herself, and hers read, “From our very first conversation, Harry and Meghan have expressed a deep commitment to improving lives and having a positive impact on society… I am delighted and honored to be able to play a role in realizing their vision as they embark on this journey of learning, listening and inspiring all of us to act.”
At the end of March, President Donald Trump sent out a characteristic Twitter rant about Harry and Meghan’s new arrangements in Los Angeles. He wrote, “I am a great friend and admirer of the Queen & the United Kingdom. It was reported that Harry and Meghan, who left the Kingdom, would reside permanently in Canada.”
Trump continued, “Now they have left Canada for the U.S. however, the U.S. will not pay for their security protection. They must pay!” A spokesperson for Harry and Meghan bit back via U.K. TV channel ITV with the words, “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have no plans to ask the U.S. government for security resources. Privately funded security arrangements have been made.”
On April 7, news of the Sussexes’ latest endeavor hit the media. According to newspaper The Guardian, Harry and Meghan were “planning a wide-ranging non-profit empire, including websites, films and their own awards, according to trademark applications lodged in the U.S. under the name of Archewell.”
Does the name “Archewell” sound familiar? A statement released by Harry and Meghan read, “Before SussexRoyal came the idea of ‘Arche’ – the Greek word meaning ‘source of action.’ We connected to this concept for the charitable organization we hoped to build one day, and it became the inspiration for our son’s name.”
The Sussexes’ statement continued, “To do something of meaning, to do something that matters. Archewell is a name that combines an ancient word for strength and action, and another that evokes the deep resources we each must draw upon. We look forward to launching Archewell when the time is right.”
According to paperwork filed for the Archewell trademark, uncovered by the media, the Sussexes’ organization will include “volunteer services, wide-ranging website, and sharing education and training materials via films, podcasts and books.” It seems like when this happens it will be an exciting step forward for the former working royals.
But what about their relationship with the rest of the royal family? Rumor has it that ever since Harry and Meghan left, things have been extremely strained. For their last appearance as royals, the Sussexes attended Commonwealth Day on March 9, and Prince William and Kate Middleton were there also. Things seemed rather awkward.
When Harry and Meghan greeted William and Kate, things seemed tense. And to make matters worse, none of the younger royals – neither the Sussexes or the Cambridges – were asked to join in the Queen’s royal procession. According to a source who spoke to the Daily Mail, they were “quite sensitive and emotional about it.”
And insiders claimed that things were rough. One spoke to the Daily Mail and claimed that Harry felt his wife “was not made sufficiently welcome” and even that “his infant son, Archie, has been abandoned by The Firm.” The prince was, according to that person, “profoundly unhappy” about it all.
Yet there may be some glimmers of hope in that respect. On March 25 another insider spoke to the Daily Mail about the situation and revealed, “Meghan told her inner circle of friends that Harry has been communicating with Prince William and the Queen on a pretty consistent basis.” Her hope was that they would become closer. If that happens, it would be a big boon to the Sussexes’ new life.