LONDON – The controversial decision by the Dukes of Sussex to step back from their royal duties has raised a number of questions.
Where will the couple reside?
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have said they intend to live between the United Kingdom and North America, possibly Canada, where the couple has spent the last two months and where Meghan lived while filming TV series Suits.
What will happen to Frogmore Cottage, the house Queen Elizabeth II gave them on the grounds of Windsor Castle and where the couple resided for nine months?
The home just outside London will remain their “base” residence in the UK.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will continue to use Frogmore Cottage – with the permission of Her Majesty The Queen – as their official residence as they continue to support the Monarchy, and so that their family will always have a place to call home in the United Kingdom,” the couple’s website said.
The cottage was renovated at a cost of 2.4 million pounds (3.1 million) that was backed by taxpayers’ funds.
It has not been revealed whether the pair will acquire another property in America.
How do they plan to become financially independent?
The Dukes of Sussex official website said they would no longer receive funds from the Sovereign Grant, which is funded by taxpayer’s money.
Part of the cost of other official duties currently performed by the couple is funded by Prince Charles, Harry and William’s father and heir to the British Crown, while other private expenses are covered with funds from the Duchy of Cornwall, a private estate under the stewardship of the Prince of Wales.
But, the issue of financing raises many questions because the expenses of official trips made by Harry and Meghan are currently covered by the Sovereign Grant.
On the couple’s website, they said: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex take great pride in their work and are committed to continuing their charitable endeavours as well as establishing new ones.”
The statement suggests the pair will continue to perform representative functions and finance them from that same source.
Will they take on paid jobs in the future?
Although Harry has worked in the past for the army and Meghan was an actress, combining a job with their royal status is complex as this could generate a conflict of interest.
On the couple’s website it says the Duke and Duchess cannot earn an income and that “under the current structure and financing arrangements, they are prohibited from earning any income in any form.”
The couple has said they plan to launch a new charitable entity as part of their rebrand.
Will British taxpayers continue to pay for the security measures required by the Sussexes?
For now, everything will remain the same. “The provision of armed security by The Metropolitan Police is mandated by the Home Office, a ministerial department of Her Majesty’s Government, responsible for security and law and order,” Sussexroyal.com said.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are classified as internationally protected people which mandates this level of security.”
However, “non-senior” members of the Royal Family, a category the dukes have now adopted, do not enjoy this privilege and would not in principle have the right to enjoy security measures assigned to full-time royals.
The security costs for the members of the British Royal House is around 100 million pounds (about $130 million) annually.
What will happen security-wise if the couple chooses to reside in Canada?
This situation would undoubtedly raise the question of whether Canadians are going to foot the bill of security costs or finance an official residence.
Will Harry and Meghan lose their current titles of Their Royal Highnesses?
In statements released so far, there is no mention of this possibility, nor that Harry will be removed from the line of succession to the British throne.
Could the couple combine private work with state-funded Royal commitments?
This scenario is controversial, as happened in 2002 when the Counts of Wessex were forced to give up private employment to focus on royal tasks full time after they were accused of financially exploiting their status as royals.
Harry’s cousin, Zara Tindall, earns her own income but does not take part in royal functions or live in official residences.