Unanswered questions after Queen's statement on Meghan and Harry's decision to step down

Francesca SpecterYahoo Style UK deputy editor

The Queen has released a statement confirming that she was “supportive” of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s desire to step down as senior members of the Royal 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,” read the statement.

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Prince Harry and Meghan announced their plans to step down in a statement shared last Wednesday – a move which took both the public and, by all accounts, the Royal Family by surprise.

Following Monday’s “summit” at Sandringham, the Queen’s statement provided further information as to how the Sussexes’ departure will work.

She added: “These are complex matters for my family to resolve, and there is some more work to be done.”

The statement was personal, addressing Harry by his Christian name, but vague – leaving a number of unanswered questions.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex stand with the High Commissioner for Canada in the UK, Janice Charette (R) as they leave Canada House. [Photo: Getty]
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex stand with the High Commissioner for Canada in the UK, Janice Charette (R) as they leave Canada House. [Photo: Getty]

Where will Harry and Meghan live?

In their original statement, the couple announced their intention to “balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America”. They also said they would “continue to use” royal residence Frogmore Cottage, according to the Sussex Royal website.

“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,” read Her Majesty’s statement.

READ MORE: Meghan and Harry 'value the ability to earn a professional income'

But this does not indicate where they will spend time after this transition period – or whether they will be allowed to keep their home, Frogmore Cottage, Windsor, on a more permanent basis.

How will they be financially independent?

The Queen echoed the pair’s desire for financial independence in her statement, saying: “Harry and Meghan have made clear that they do not want to be reliant on public funds.”

The Queen pictured a day before the family "summit" at Sandringham (Getty)
The Queen pictured a day before the family "summit" at Sandringham (Getty)

It is yet to be seen how much money the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be able to continue to claim from being royals, at the cost of the taxpayer.

They announced on the Funding section of the Sussex Royal website they will be giving up the Sovereign Grant, which comes from taxpayer money.

But Harry and Meghan's public and some private activities are still predominantly funded by the Prince of Wales from his private £21 million-a-year Duchy of Cornwall income.

The Sussexes have trademarked the brand “Sussex Royal” and it is believed they could generate an income from this.

The couple also expressed that they “value the ability to earn a professional income, which in the current structure they are prohibited from doing”, according to the Funding page. However, it is unclear what form this would take.

What royal duties will they carry out?

Harry and Meghan have stepped down as “senior” members of the Royal Family, but have said they will be “continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages”.

It is unclear what level of royal duty they will be expected to carry out going forward.

Where will they live in Canada?

The Queen has said the family will spend time in Canada and the UK.

While their official residence in the UK is known, it is not clear where they would live in Canada.

However, there is an indication they may set up a home on Vancouver Island, after spending their six-week break in this location. They also moved their dogs to the area.

Where will they pay tax?

It is not known where the pair will pay tax going forward: Canada or the UK.

What will happen to their titles?

On Monday, The Sun’s former royal editor Duncan Larcombe told Yahoo UK said it was “very much a possibility” the Sussexes could lose their Royal Highness titles.

This would not be unprecedented. Both Sarah, Duchess of York, and the late Diana, Princess of Wales, were stripped of the style “Her Royal Highness” after divorcing Prince Andrew and Prince Charles, respectively.

This is still yet to be seen. However, as the Queen referred to the pair as “the Sussexes” during her statement, it is likely they will maintain the Duke and Duchess of Sussex titles at least.

Where will Archie go to school?

The couple have said they will “split their time” between the UK and North America – but presumably if Archie is to attend school, rather than be privately tutored, he will have to be educated in one of these locations.

What citizenship will they have?

When Meghan became engaged to Harry, it was announced by Kensington Palace she would apply for British citizenship. The status of this is unknown.

READ MORE: What drove Harry and Meghan away from the royal family?

Born to a British father and a US mum, baby Archie may hold dual UK/US citizenship.

It is also unknown whether the family will apply for Canadian citizenship for the right to live and work in Canada, if they move there more permanently.

When will we have more information?

“I have asked for final decisions to be reached in the coming days,” the Queen’s statement confirmed.

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