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Just all the clues that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were always going to 'quit' the royal family.

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In an unprecedented move, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have announced their plans to “step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family”.

In a statement released on Wednesday evening, London time, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex shared that they’ve decided to become financially independent and split their time between the UK and North America.

 

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“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,” the statement read.

“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.

“We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages.

“This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity.”

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Mamamia’s daily news podcast, The Quicky, investigates what Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s exit means. Post continues below.

Despite the lengthy statement, however, the BBC has reported that the royal family were unaware about Meghan and Harry’s decision.

The publication also reported that the Palace is understood to be “disappointed”.

A short statement released from Buckingham Palace following the news read: “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.”


But although the Royal Family were reportedly unaware about the couple’s decision to step down, there were plenty of clues that indicated that Meghan and Harry’s exit was coming.

Prince Harry hinted at an exit in 2017.

According to Mail on Sunday, Prince Harry previously admitted in an interview that he once considered giving up his royal title.

“I felt I wanted out but then decided to stay in and work out a role for myself,” he said.

“I am determined to have a relatively normal life, and if I am lucky enough to have children, they can have one too,” he added.

“We don’t want to be just a bunch of celebrities but instead use our role for good.”

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The move to Frogmore Cottage.

SUSSEX FAMILY
Image: Getty.

Shortly before Meghan and Harry's son, Archie, was born, the couple moved out of Kensington Palace, where they were neighbours with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Their move to Frogmore Cottage, which needed extensive renovations, was considered controversial at the time and exacerbated rumours of a so-called "royal rift" between William and Harry.

In a statement on their new official website, Meghan and Harry shared that they will continue to use Frogmore Cottage as their official residence in the UK.

The Sussex and Cambridge split.

In March, Kensington Palace announced that the Cambridge and Sussex households would go their separate ways, with Harry and Meghan starting a new foundation while William and Kate kept the existing one.

This came after rumours of a rift between the brothers as well as an unconfirmed report that Meghan and Kate had fallen out in the run-up to Meghan and Harry's wedding.

prince-william-prince-harry-kate-middleton-meghan-markle
Image: Getty.
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In an ITV documentary, Harry appeared to confirm the rift with William, saying they were "on different paths."

"Stuff happens. But, look, we’re brothers, we’ll always be brothers,” he said. "The majority of the stuff is created out of nothing but as brothers, you know, you have good days, you have bad days."

The private christening.

Ahead of the birth of Archie, Meghan and Harry opted to keep their birth plans private.

When it came to Archie's christening, they also granted no media access whatsoever. Instead, a number of official family photos were released afterwards.

 

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Meghan and Harry also took legal action against the Mail on Sunday in October 2019 when the publication breached the couple's privacy by unlawfully publishing a letter Meghan wrote to her father, Thomas Markle.

Archie Harrison's royal title.

Interestingly, when Harry and Meghan's son was born in May 2019, he wasn't given a royal title.

Instead, he was named: Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

"He will not be styled as Earl of Dumbarton but Master Archie M-W," royal historian Marlene Koenig told E! News at the time.

The documentary.

In a raw and honest interview for an ITV documentary in October 2019, Meghan and Harry addressed the constant media scrutiny they have faced – particularly after welcoming Archie.

In the interview, Meghan admitted that she was struggling behind the scenes.

“Look, any woman – especially when they are pregnant – you’re really vulnerable and so that was made really challenging, and then when you have a newborn – you know?” she told reporter Tom Bradby as she held back tears.

“And especially as a woman, it’s a lot. So you add this on top of just trying to be a new mum or trying to be a newlywed it’s, well…” she said.

In an interview in October 2019, Meghan Markle admitted that she was struggling behind the scenes. Post continues below.

After months of negative media attention, Markle thanked Bradby for asking her the simple question: Are you OK?

“Not many people have asked if I’m OK. It’s a very real thing to be going on behind the scenes,” she said.

“Would it be fair to say, ‘Not really OK?’ As in it’s been a struggle?” asked Bradby.

“Yes,” Markle nodded.

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The couple's Christmas plans.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex skipped Christmas with the Queen in Sandringham to spend Christmas and New Year's in Canada with their eight-month-old son Archie and Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland.

During this period, the couple also took a six-week break from royal duties.

The Christmas speech.

In an image from the Queen's annual Christmas address, viewers noticed that while she displayed photographs of Prince Charles and Camilla, Prince William, Kate Middleton and their three children, Prince Phillip and King George IV – there were no photographs of Harry, Meghan and Archie.

QUEEN-CHRISTMAS
Image: Instagram.

The Queen also famously appeared to remove the couple's wedding portrait in mid-2019.

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May, 2019: Australia's High Commissioner George Brandis comes to visit. Image: Getty.
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July, 2019: Boris Johnson becomes Prime Minister. Image: Getty.

Their trademark move.

In June 2019, the couple filed trademark applications to legally protect the Sussex Royal brand.

According to Brisbane intellectual property and trademarks lawyer Nicole Murdoch, the move is a major clue.

“This could be because they may lose their titles as part of leaving the Royal Family. So this is a defensive move to allow them to continue using the titles or a name that alludes to the titles,” she said in a statement.

“It’s become very clear. This was a strategic move and it happened in the middle of last year so it’s not some decision the pair made during their Christmas holidays."

Feature Image: Getty.

What do you think about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's decision? Let us know in the comments.

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