The Royal Fallout From Meghan & Harry’s Decision Is Turning Nuclear

Photo: DOMINIC LIPINSKI/AFP via Getty Images.
On Wednesday, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stunned the world with the sudden announcement that they decided to step back from their royal duties. Their statement, shared over social media to their millions of fans around the globe, came to the surprise to the Sussexes’ supporters — and the disappointment to the Firm itself.
In their announcement, Harry and Meghan discussed stepping down as senior members of the Royal Family to work towards “financial independence.” The couple, with 8-month-old Archie Harrison in tow, shared that they will split their time between the UK and North America, and they’ll continue to support the Queen and the Commonwealth in their own way. 
The radical move comes after a particularly rough year for Meghan, who was subjected to often derogatory scrutiny at the hands of the British tabloids. Harry has publicly addressed this harassment on multiple occasions, condemning the tabloids’ hounding of his wife and even comparing it to what his mother Princess Diana faced in the last years of her life. Many believe that the couple’s decision to distance themselves from the Firm is a means of creating a necessary boundary that would protect the prince and his family from going through that pain again.
No matter the rationale behind the choice, Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth is said not to be pleased, mostly because she and the other members of the Royal Family were reportedly blindsided by the plan. A source told Us Weekly that Prince William was also especially hurt by the news, which happened to come out the day before his wife Kate Middleton’s 38th birthday. 
"It’s sad because when they were younger, William would be the first person Harry would go to with big news like this," the source said. "William is incredibly hurt, but at the same time, he has his own family to focus on and is trying to move forward with his life.”
It isn’t surprising that William wasn’t in the loop; he and Harry are not on the best of terms. In 2019’s revealing ITV documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, the Duke of Sussex admitted that their brotherhood hadn’t been the same for some time.
“Part of this role and part of this job, this family, being under the pressure that it’s under, inevitably stuff happens,” the prince said in the documentary. “But look, we’re brothers. We’ll always be brothers. We’re certainly on different paths at the moment, but I’ll always be there for him, and I know he’ll always be there for me.”
The Royal Family has since released a statement in response to Harry and Meghan’s breaking news, and it's got a little bit of spice to it. "Discussions with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage," the statement read. "We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through."
Outside of Buckingham Palace, the world received the news with mixed reactions. Many Brits were furious at the decision, and even celebrated tourist attraction Madame Tussauds picked a side; following the announcement, the London-based wax museum moved Harry and Meghan's figures away from the Royal Family set.
Some of the United Kingdom's most prominent figures feel that it would be better for the couple to give up their titles completely than to partially step back. "You are either a member of the royal family or you are not," former Liberal Democrat member of British parliament Norman Baker told The Daily Mail. "You can't be one foot in, one foot out."
Nonetheless, Harry and Meghan had a sea of well-wishers praising them for the radical choice to forge their own path. Their supporters pulled out their very best memes to cheer them on.
What's next in this royal fiasco? Well, reports ITV Royal Editor Chris Ship, the Firm is apparently working "at pace" with the couple (and with the UK, the United, and Canada, where Harry and Meghan will be dividing their time) to come up with "workable solutions."
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