Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Are Not the First Royals to Want to Escape the Royal Spotlight

The royal family is still picking up the pieces following Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s shocking exit announcement. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex recently revealed their plans to become financially independent and step down as senior members of the royal family. While the family is doing their best to bring Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, back into the fold, they are hardly the first royals who wanted to escape the spotlight.

Meghan Markle Prince Harry
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex | DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announce their royal exit

After struggling with the royal spotlight for the past two years, Prince Harry and Meghan shocked royal watchers around the world when they announced they are stepping down from their previous positions in the monarchy.

Taking to Instagram, the couple declared that they are no longer senior members of the royal family and are seeking to gain financial independence from the crown. The move came as a huge surprise for the royals, who are scrambling to get ahold of the situation.

“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen,” they wrote.

Prince Harry and Meghan also revealed that they want to split their time between the U.K. and North America. They did not reveal where they plan on setting down roots, but there has been a lot of speculation that either Canada or Los Angeles will be their home base.

In closing, the Sussexes assured their followers that they will continue to support Queen Elizabeth and the other senior members of the royal family. This includes working with them on joint projects, though specifics have not been ironed out.

Who else wanted to escape the royal spotlight?

Although Harry and Meghan’s announcement was a major surprise, they are not the first royals who wanted a more private life – and they probably will not be the last.

According to Express, Queen Elizabeth’s youngest son, Prince Edward, expressed similar sentiments in a shocking interview in 1996. When asked whether or not he was going to marry his girlfriend, Sophie Rhys-Jones, Edward slammed the reporter for prying into private matters.

“If you shut up, mind your own business, and let me do it when I want, it’s much more likely to happen,” Edward shared. “The more people second-guess, the less likely it is. I just won’t do it.”

Edward went on to talk about the pressures of living under the royal spotlight. He admitted that people living in the public eye have little hope for privacy, but for the royals, there is absolutely no escaping it.

Looking back, Edward’s statement applies perfectly to Prince Harry and Meghan’s situation. The two have struggled with negative press over the past two years and have experienced a difficult time escaping the pressures of the limelight.

Will Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s plan work?

At first glance, Harry and Meghan’s plan should give them a lot more privacy in their personal lives. But there are a lot of things to consider about their surprise exit.

For starters, the idea that Harry and Meghan will become financially independent is a lot easier said than done. The Sussexes pay for the majority of their yearly expenses with an allowance from the crown, and it could easily take years for them to break out of that cycle.

They also plan on setting up a second home base in North America. This means purchasing a home somewhere in Canada or the U.S. and providing security for themselves around the clock.

Prince Harry and Meghan have yet to reveal any specifics about their plan. Penny Junor, an expert on the royals, is doubtful that they can pull it off.

“[I] can’t quite see how it’s going to work,” she stated. “I don’t think it’s been properly thought through.”

How did the royal family react?

Turns out fans were not the only ones surprised by Harry and Meghan’s announcement. Sources claim that the royal family was completely blindsided by the move.

The couple apparently did not inform Queen Elizabeth or Prince William about their plans, which is why the royals are scrambling to keep things together.

Following Harry and Meghan’s post on Instagram, Buckingham Palace released a statement calling it a “complicated” issue that will take a long time to work out.

“Discussions with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage. We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through,” the statement read.

A source added that Prince Harry and Meghan spoke with Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, and Prince William about their future role in the monarchy. The Queen released a statement claiming she is “entirely supportive” of their desire to leave the royal life behind but made it very clear she wishes that they would have handled it differently.

Prince Harry and Meghan have yet to follow up after their shocking announcement. They have already made a few public appearances in 2020, though it is unclear how many royal engagements they will fulfill in the coming months.