Questions Follow Harry and Meghan's Decision to Step Back

Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan have announced they will step back from senior positions in the royal family. The couple said they hope to become financially independent and create a new charity -- while continuing some royal duties.

The move came as a surprise to the British royal family. Hours after the announcement appeared on Instagram, Buckingham Palace released a short statement. It said discussions with Harry and Meghan “were at an early stage” and that such complex issues take time to work out.

British media did not like the idea, either. The Daily Mirror called the announcement a “shocking disregard” for the Queen. The Sun described the decision as “Megxit.” The word is a play on “Brexit” -- a common term for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.

It also raises questions about how the couple will earn a living, who will pay for their security, and what their new positions will involve.

Security and living situation

In their announcement, Harry and Meghan said they plan to divide their time between Britain and North America.

Meghan was born in Los Angeles, California, and grew up in Hollywood. Harry and Meghan spent the last six weeks of 2019 in Canada. Their first official appearance of 2020 was a trip to Canada House in London, home of Canada’s diplomatic mission to Britain.

They will continue to base themselves at Frogmore Cottage on the grounds of the queen’s Windsor Castle while in Britain. The property was recently repaired at a cost of 2.4 million pounds ($3.13 million) by taxpayers.

The couple also made clear that they expect the government to continue to pay their security costs. This is required by the Home Office, which is responsible for the security of the royal family. The cost of security is not publicly available information. But it is estimated to cost hundreds of thousands of British pounds a year.

How will they earn a living?

The couple said on their new website that they are seeking financial independence from the royal family’s funding, known as the “Sovereign Grant.” This is government money that covers the ongoing costs related to daily life and travel.

The couple said the grant represented about 5 percent of the money needed to run their official office. They did not say if they will give up the remaining 95 percent, which comes from Prince Charles’ centuries-old private estate.

The couple’s new website, Sussex Royal, does not say exactly how they plan to fund themselves in the future. Last year, it was reported that Harry would be the executive producer of a film on mental health for Apple’s video streaming service. And royal writer Penny Junor suggested that Meghan, who starred in the television show Suits, might restart her acting career.

The couple has not said they would give up their royal names -- the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. And, their website noted that other royal family members have kept their titles while earning money in other ways.

Marriage - and the media

Harry and Meghan married in May 2018 in a ceremony in Windsor Castle. Their marriage was considered at the time to be a sign of a more modern monarchy.

Their son, Archie, was born in May 2019.

The family’s relationship with the media has worsened quickly over time, as they struggled to deal with the pressure, criticism, and scrutiny.

Harry described the media’s treatment of his wife as “bullying,” and likened it to that of his mother before her death. His mother, Princess Diana, died in a car crash in France in 1997 while being chased by paparazzi.

Harry and Meghan announced they plan to greatly change media access to their official events. They will no longer take part in the traditional “royal rota” system, which is an agreement providing access for royal correspondents.

The royal rota system permits access to their appearances and events by official correspondents. These correspondents take photographs and videos, which they then share with others in the media.

Now the couple said their plan is to speak directly to the public through social media. They plan to deny automatic access to some royal correspondents.

The change may make them more of a target for paparazzi photographers, who will no longer worry about losing access to official events if they are already excluded.

 

Vocabulary

Discuss the following vocabulary with your teacher

charity - n. an organization that helps people who are poor, sick, etc.

  • Every Christmas I always give back to my favorite charity.

disregard - n. the act of ignoring something or treating something as unimportant

  • I am in such a good and happy mood that I will disregard any negativity.

funding - n. an amount of money that is used for a special purpose

  • The charity that I support usually arranges an annual event for funding.

estate - n. all of the things that a person owns

  • Everything in my estate, which includes the house and the car, will be left to my son one day.

monarchy - n. a country that is ruled by a monarch (such as a king or queen)​

  • Britain is one of the very few countries that is still ruled by a monarchy.

scrutiny - n. the act of carefully examining something especially in a critical way

  • She had to go through a lot of scrutiny and investigation before she got the job.

access - n. a way of getting near, at, or to something or someone

  • Only my close friends are allowed access to my home.

correspondent - n. a person whose job is to send the news to a newspaper, radio station, or television program often from different places around the world

  • I was a full-time journalist yet closer to my retirement I worked as a correspondent.

paparazzi - n. photographers who follow famous people in order to take their pictures and then sells the pictures to newspapers or magazines​

  • I never realized how much I would have to avoid the paparazzi now that I came into my fortune.

 

Questions

Answer the following questions about the article

  1. What was the announcement that Prince Harry and Megan made?
  2. How did the 'Daily Mirror' describe it?
  3. How did 'The Sun" describe it?
  4. What is Brexit?

 

Make a sentence

Make a sentence using the following words

  • charity
  • disregard
  • funding
  • estate
  • monarchy
  • scrutiny
  • access
  • correspondent
  • paparazzi

 

Discussion

Have a discussion about the following questions

  1. What other members of the British Royal family do you know?
  2. Who was the British Royal that passed away in a car accident? Explain what you know about this story.
  3. Does your country or any other neighboring countries have a monarch?
  4. Do you know what the procedure is when meeting a royal? What is your knowledge thereof?