The title of their most recent biography may have been Finding Freedom, but are the Duke and Duchess of Sussex really free to speak their minds, now that they’re no longer senior royals? Last week, the couple made headlines with their appearance during the announcement of the Time 100, during which each encouraged Americans to vote this November, while not endorsing any presidential candidate by name.
“When we vote, our values are put into action and our voices are heard,” Meghan Markle said during an on-camera segment seated next to her husband, Prince Harry.”Your voice is a reminder that you matter; because you do and you deserve to be heard.”
However democratic and benign the statement may have seemed, the appearance may have violated the agreed-upon terms of “Megxit,” reached upon the couple’s exodus from royal life in January, as reported by England’s Sunday Times:
The controversial intervention by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in the US election was a “violation” of their “Megxit” deal with the Queen and could further jeopardise their links to the monarchy, according to senior royal aides.
Courtiers held talks last week to discuss how the royal household could distance itself further from Harry and Meghan after the couple called on voters in America to “reject hate speech, misinformation and online negativity” in “the most important election of our lifetime” — comments widely interpreted as a swipe at President Donald Trump.
Did we mention the part where they didn’t endorse a specific candidate?
That said, it’s no secret that there’s no love lost between Markle and Trump, who has previously called the duchess “nasty” (original, we know). Nevertheless, the pair had reportedly promised upon their exit that “everything they do will uphold the values of Her Majesty,” which includes remaining politically neutral (which technically, they did...but again, a technicality).
“The [royal] family are all wringing their hands, thinking: Where is this going and does this abide by the deal to uphold the values of the Queen?” a royal aide reportedly told the outlet (h/t Page Six). “The feeling is it’s a violation of the agreement.”
Despite the fact that Buckingham Palace issued a statement last week clarifying that “any comments made by Prince Harry are made in a personal capacity,” the Times’ source inferred that there has been talk of stripping the couple of their royal titles altogether; an improbability, as a source admits.
“The view at the moment is that you can’t do that to Harry. Even Edward VIII kept his [His Royal Highness] when he abdicated,” the source told the Times. “[But] there is a strong view that the family really does need to put more distance between them and Harry and Meghan.”
No further statement has been made by Buckingham Palace on the matter—or whether Markle will remain Meg Thee Duchess—but one thing we do know sure is that the Sussexes will not be starring in a reality series as part of their new deal with Netflix. This, despite reports by Page Six on Monday (quoting English tabloid The Sun, which is one of several tabloids currently in litigation with Meghan)—a claim instantly refuted by reps for the couple, as royal biographer Omid Scobie (co-author of the aforementioned Finding Freedom) shared via Twitter:
Pretty obvious this was false but a Sussex rep says the couple “are not taking part in any reality shows.” Source adds that the only shows in development now “are the ones we have previously confirmed” — a nature docu-series and an animated series celebrating inspiring women.
So, don’t expect to be catching an intimate glimpse of life after royal life anytime soon...for now, the only immediate plans Meghan has are to speak with Senior Editor Ellen McGirt this afternoon at Fortune magazine’s virtual Most Powerful Women Summit, where she will reportedly “discuss what it will take to create humane tech.” Registration has already closed for the event and for reasons unbeknownst to us, the conversation will not be available for streaming after the summit, but since we could all benefit from a more humane world online, we look forward to hearing what tidbits might make their way into the public sphere, and, as always, will share any worthwhile news with our resident royal watchers.