Some might be shocked by the news the Sussexes plan to step back from the royal family, but the decision isn’t wholly without precedent.
9 January 2020| Last updated on 9 January 2020
All credits: PA
Times Meghan and Harry have bucked British royal traditions...
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have announced they are to “step back” as senior members of the royal family, and moving forward, will divide their time between the UK and North America.
The news arguably comes as a shock – apparently even to the Queen, who reportedly wasn’t consulted before Harry and Meghan made the announcement.
At their wedding
Harry and Meghan at their 2018 wedding
While much of the couple’s royal wedding was traditional, some aspects were a little different. Meghan reportedly gave a speech at their reception – something the Duchess of Cambridge didn’t, reportedly, at her own in 2011.
Harry wearing his wedding ring
Since then, Harry has worn a wedding ring. This might not seem like such a big move, but it’s something royal men aren’t expected to do.
On royal tours
Harry and Meghan greet fans in Cape Town
Over the years the couple has gone on various royal tours, from Australasia to Africa, and proven themselves very much a modern addition to the royal family, approaching well-wishers in a more informal manner.
Even though the rules aren’t set in stone, the official website says members of the royal family should be primarily addressed as ‘Your Royal Highness’ and then as either ‘Sir’ or ‘Ma’am’ (like ‘jam’). However, Vanity Fair reported Meghan and Harry wanted to keep things more informal on their tour to South Africa, preferring to be called by their first names.
They have also been known to hug fans and shake hands, when physical contact with royals is often discouraged.
With the birth of baby Archie…
Meghan and Harry present Archie to the world a few days after his birth
Royal births tend to follow a set pattern: the baby is born in the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital, and a few hours later, the happy parents pose for pictures on the steps outside with their new baby, with the mother always looking polished and perfect. You always feel a bit sorry for the mum in these instances – it can’t be easy facing the world with not a hair out of place just a few hours after giving birth.
Meghan opted against this approach. Instead, Archie was born at a private hospital, and the couple posed for pictures with their new baby a few days later.
…as well as his christening
A cake from a royal well-wisher on the day of Archie’s christening
As with the baby’s birth, privacy was key to Archie’s christening. It was held in July 2019 in a small chapel inside Windsor Castle, with no press except for their personal wedding photographer, Chris Allerton, and images were only released publicly afterwards.
In another unusual move, the couple decided not to announce who Archie’s godparents were.