Harry, Meghan to quit royal jobs, give up ‘highness’ titles

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FILE – In this Monday, March 11, 2019 file photo, Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex leave after the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are to no longer use their HRH titles and will repay £2.4 million of taxpayer’s money spent on renovating their Berkshire home, Buckingham Palace announced Saturday, Jan. 18. 2020. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, file)

LONDON (AP) — Goodbye, your royal highnesses. Hello, life as — almost — ordinary civilians.

Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, are quitting as working royals and will no longer use the titles “royal highness” or receive public funds for their work under a deal announced Saturday by Buckingham Palace.

FILE – In this Monday, March 11, 2019 file photo, Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex leave after the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are to no longer use their HRH titles and will repay £2.4 million of taxpayer’s money spent on renovating their Berkshire home, Buckingham Palace announced Saturday, Jan. 18. 2020. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, file)

Releasing details of the dramatic split, triggered by the couple’s unhappiness with life under media scrutiny in the royal fishbowl, the palace said Harry and Meghan will cease to be working members of the royal family when the new arrangements take effect within months, in the “spring of 2020.”

The couple will no longer use the titles His Royal Highness and Her Royal Highness, but they are not being stripped of them.

They will be known as Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. Harry will remain a prince and sixth in line to the British throne.

The agreement also calls for Meghan and Harry to repay 2.4 million pounds ($3.1 million) in taxpayers’ money that was spent renovating their home near Windsor Castle, Frogmore Cottage.

FILE – In this Jan. 7, 2020, file photo, Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex leave after visiting Canada House in London, after their recent stay in Canada. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are to no longer use their HRH titles and will repay £2.4 million of taxpayer’s money spent on renovating their Berkshire home, Buckingham Palace announced Saturday, Jan. 18. 2020. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

The couple’s departure is a wrench for the royal family, but Queen Elizabeth II had warm words for them in a statement Saturday.

The queen said she was pleased that “together we have found a constructive and supportive way forward for my grandson and his family. Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family.”

“I recognize the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life,” Elizabeth said.

“It is my whole family’s hope that today’s agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life,” she added.

The announcement came after days of talks among royal courtiers sparked by Meghan and Harry’s announcement last week that they wanted to step down as senior royals and live part-time in Canada.

The details of the deal solidify the couple’s dramatic break from life as working royals. Army veteran Harry will have to give up the military appointments he has as a senior royal.

While he and Meghan will no longer represent the queen, the palace said they would “continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty” while carrying out their private charitable work.

Buckingham Palace did not disclose who will pay for the couple’s security going forward. It currently is taxpayer-funded.

“There are well established independent processes to determine the need for publicly funded security,” it said.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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