How will Harry and Meghan's exit from the royal family work?

As their UK farewell tour comes to an end, Harry and Meghan are set to begin their new lives separate from the Royal family.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex sparked a major royal crisis earlier this years after announcing they wanted to quit as senior royals.

From March 31, the couple will begin a new life of personal and financial freedom.

Here's a rundown of just what that means:

  • What will happen on March 31?

It's been referred to as "Megxit Day" - the day Harry and Meghan cease to be senior royals as they walk away from the monarchy.

From March 31 they will stop using their HRH styles.

No documents will be signed or laws passed and the decision will not be binding, but it marks a new phase in their lives.

Duchess of Sussex joining in with dancers as she leaves the Nyanga Township in Cape Town, South Africa. Credit: PA
  • Will they carry out any more royal duties?


The couple are quitting, not just as senior royals, but as working royals in general.

  • Was this want they wanted?

Not quite.

Harry and Meghan wanted to step down as senior royals but have a dual role, supporting the Queen and earning their own money.

Poppy Dean giving a cake to The Duke of Sussex, during a visit to Broom Farm Community Centre in Windsor in 2019. Credit: MoD/PA
  • But this was unworkable?

Yes. They effectively could not have their cake and eat it.

It was too controversial given their global profiles and would have led to accusations they were cashing in on their royal status.

  • How did the Queen sort out the saga?

The monarch held a crisis summit at Sandringham with Harry, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge – and it was announced a few days later there would be no dual role for the Sussexes.

The Sussexes with the Queen at her Young Leaders Awards Ceremony in 2018. Credit: PA
  • Why did Harry and Meghan’s plans cause such shock waves?

Harry and Meghan issued a bombshell statement on January 8, without warning the Queen first, and after being told by the monarch to discuss matters with the Prince of Wales too.

  • Why did they want to step down as senior royals?

The couple spoke of their struggles dealing with royal life and the intense tabloid interest in an ITV television documentary about their Africa tour.

ITV's Tom Bradby spoke to the royal couple together in Cape Town at the outset of the trip. Credit: ITV

In the interview with ITV News at Ten Presenter Tom Bradby, Meghan said: "It's not enough to just survive something, that's not the point of life.

"You have got to thrive."

Harry has since said he wanted his family to have a "more peaceful life".

  • What were the low points following their wedding?

Controversies included rows over privacy and use of private jets, an apparent falling out between Harry and William, the launch of legal action and an attack on the press which overshadowed an official royal tour.

As newlyweds, Harry and Meghan leave to attend an evening reception at Frogmore House Credit: PA
  • Where will they live?

Harry and Meghan and their son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor will mostly be based in North America.

They are renting in Canada, so may buy a property there, or perhaps relocate to the US - Meghan's mother lives in California.

  • What about Frogmore Cottage?

Harry and Meghan will keep their Windsor home, start paying commercial rent, and pay back £2.4 million in taxpayers' money spent on its renovations.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were married at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle on May 19. Credit: PA
  • What will they be called?

Initially the palace said they would be Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.

But it was pointed out the titles mirrored those of a divorcee - the Princess of Wales became Diana, Princess of Wales following the end of her marriage to Charles.

They will be the Duke and Duchess of Sussex - but without their HRHs.

  • Who had a similar title?

Wallis Simpson - the last American divorcee to marry a senior royal, for whom Edward VIII abdicated the throne.

Mrs Simpson became the Duchess of Windsor, but was never permitted to be an HRH.

Edward VIII abdicated the throne in order to marry Wallis Simpson. Credit: PA
  • Have they been stripped of their HRHs like Diana?

No. Harry was born a prince and remains so. They will retain their HRHs but will not use them.

  • How will they make money?

They are predicted to make millions from public speaking, lucrative contracts, book deals - or perhaps for Meghan, a return to acting.

  • Will they be financially independent?

Not completely. The Prince of Wales will also continue to offer private financial support to the couple.

This is expected to come from his £21 million a year Duchy of Cornwall income.

The Prince of Wales will also continue to offer private financial support to Harry and Meghan. Credit: PA
  • Will they launch their own charitable foundation?

Yes but they are not calling it a foundation. Harry and Meghan intend to "develop a new way to effect change" with a non-profit organisation.

  • Will they still be able to use Sussex Royal as their brand?

No. The Queen and her senior officials are said to have declared they must drop the use of the word "Royal".

  • Are Harry and Meghan happy about this?

They don’t appear to be. Their website states they will not use "Royal" but argues that the monarchy has no jurisdiction over the use of the word "Royal" overseas.

  • What will their new brand name be?

It has not been announced. They will have to change their @SussexRoyal Instagram handle too.

Neither Buckingham Palace nor the Home Office will confirm details of the couple's security. Credit: PA
  • Who will pay for their security?

It's unclear, which is causing controversy.

It is feared the cost will fall to the taxpayer, but it could be the Sussexes themselves, or the Queen or the Prince of Wales may have to pay.

Neither Buckingham Palace nor the Home Office will confirm details, but the bill is estimated to be as much as £20 million a year.

It won't be Canada where the Queen is head of state.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said it will stop providing protection after the couple leave their Royal duties.

  • What do Harry and Meghan say?

Their website claims it is agreed they "require effective security to protect them" because Harry was "born into the royal family" and because Meghan has her "own independent profile".

The Duchess of Sussex is escorted through crowds by security. Credit: PA
  • What about their patronages?

They will keep their royal patronages as private patronages and associations.

But Harry's military appointments will be put on hold for the next 12 months.

  • What about their Commonwealth roles?

Harry is quitting his role as Commonwealth Youth Ambassador.

But he will remain president of the Queen's Commonwealth Trust, and Meghan will still be the Trust's vice-president.

The couple introduced their baby son Archie to the South African peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Credit: PA
  • Where will Archie go to school?

As Archie will be spending most of his time in North America, it it is likely he will not have a British education, but nothing has been confirmed.

  • What about Meghan's citizenship?

At the time of their engagement, it was announced that Meghan would be applying for British citizenship.

It is not known what stage the process was at or what will happen now.

  • Will they been seen again in the UK?

Harry is expected - in a non-royal capacity - to be at the London Marathon in April if it goes ahead.

Harry remains sixth in line for the throne. Credit: PA
  • Is this end of Harry and Meghan’s royal roles forever?

Possibly not. The situation will be reviewed by the monarchy in 12 months' time, leaving the door open in case of a change of heart.

The Queen has told Harry the couple are much loved by the royals and would welcomed back if they wanted as working royals in the future.

  • Is Harry still in the line of succession?

Yes, he remains sixth in line and Archie is seventh in line.