In a statement shared on their Instagram page, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said: “We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and become financially independent, while continuing to support Her Majesty the Queen.”
The move was met with a mixed response by royal watchers, while it also caused a rift between the Sussexes and other members of the Royal Family. In their statement Harry and Meghan also announced that they would split their time between the UK and North America, and planned to focus on new charitable ventures.
The statement continued: “This geographical 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.”
Since the unprecedented split from the Firm, Harry and Meghan have remained very much in the public eye. The couple officially began their new lives at the end of March 2020, having returned briefly to the UK to undertake a final round of royal engagements.
At first, the Sussexes resided on Vancouver Island in Canada, where they had enjoyed a quiet Christmas 2019 away from the spotlight. Then, they moved to the US, staying in their friend Tyler Perry’s LA mansion for a time, before buying their own home in Montecito.
Recent reports suggest that the Sussexes are already planning to sell their new home, however. Meanwhile, the couple paid back the £2.4million they took from the taxpayer to renovate their Windsor home, Frogmore Cottage.
As promised upon leaving the Firm, Harry and Meghan launched their non-profit Archewell in April 2020, which aims to “build a better world, one act of compassion at a time.”
The Sussexes have long been committed to charity, having reportedly asked for charitable donations instead of wedding gifts in 2018, while they were seen wearing masks delivering food to LA residents in need during the pandemic.
However, according to tax filings seen by the Daily Mail, Archewell raised less than $50,000 (£36,947) in 2020. According to the newspaper, the Sussexes lawyers said Archewell did not open its bank account until January 2021, and received its first deposit a month later.
Months after relocating the Sussexes also inked a deal with streaming giant Netflix believed to be worth £112million to make documentaries, children’s programmes, scripted shows and feature films.