Royal Exit

January 24, 2020
THE NEXT STEP Meghan Markle and Prince Harry greet reporters in London, England, on January 7.
CHRIS JACKSON—GETTY IMAGES

Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the duke and duchess of Sussex, made an announcement on January 8. “We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members” of the royal family, they wrote on their official Instagram page.

The couple said they plan to support themselves financially. They will lead lives separate from the royal family, splitting their time between the United Kingdom and North America.

Many people were surprised by the announcement. No member of the British royal family has ever “stepped back” in this way. A royal’s job is to support charities and do other work that benefits the public. The duke and duchess said they will continue to “honor our duty” to Britain. But they plan to focus on their own charity. They also want privacy as they raise their son, Archie. Both say British newspapers have printed unfair stories about them.

On January 13, Queen Elizabeth issued a statement. The royal family is “entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family,” she said. “We respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life.”

Stop and Think! Why does the press report on public figures, such as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle? What might lead a public figure to say that a story is unfair?