Royal Family’s Megxit deal move ‘vindicated’, says royal expert

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The Royal Family’s decision not to grant the Duke and Duchess of Sussex a “half-in, half-out” position within the Firm has been “vindicated”, a royal commentator believes. Meghan and Prince Harry’s choice over the past two years to release interviews, a documentary and a memoir filled with allegations and criticism against their royal relatives have exacerbated their already difficult relationship with the Royal Family, royal expert and broadcaster Jonathan Sacerdoti said.

The strained bond and the claims raised by the Sussexes since they quit the Firm make a return into the royal fold seem difficult, especially considering the pair’s desire to be financially independent part-time working royals had already been shot down by the Palace, Mr Sacerdoti said.

Mentioning the 12-month transition period which lasted between March 2020 and 2021, he told “I would imagine a way back is very difficult. Originally, when Harry and Meghan decided to leave the UK, they were actually offered a very generous final period of a year to see how their deal went.

“That has since elapsed and they appear to have made their decision to stay away and keep things the way they are.

“In one of his recent interviews, Harry said he would be willing to talk if the Royal Family wanted him and Meghan to serve in the Commonwealth in any other way, which to me seemed somewhat blind to the current circumstances.

“I haven’t heard any suggestion that that is something the Royal Family are considering.

“I don’t certainly think it matches up with the public opinion in Britain of Harry and Meghan, so it would be a surprise for many of us if the Palace were thinking differently internally.

“And I think that given the fact that by his account that model of half-in, half-out was considered during the so-called Sandringham Summit and they said it was rejected by the Royal Family, I can’t see why they would now choose to revisit that option when all that’s happened since is a series of attacks and allegations which have just made the relationship [with the Royal Family] so much worse rather than better.

“I think, if anything, it probably vindicated that decision by the Royal Family not to try to have some service-lite option where Meghan and Harry are freer to do and say things on their own without coordination with the other Royal Households but also have a role as working royal, I think they are doing enough damage without that.”

Prince Harry and Meghan officially stepped down as working royals at the end of March 2020.

Three months prior, the Duke of Sussex met in Sandringham Prince William, Queen Elizabeth II and King Charles – then the Prince of Wales – to thrash out a deal for the Sussexes’ exit, which was dubbed Megxit.

The Sussexes hoped to be able to live in Canada and continue to represent the Crown with their charitable work and through royal visits while also become financially independent from the Sovereign Grant – a move which they thought could grant them less public scrutiny.

However, senior royals thought this solution would not be compatible with the Firm, a move which brought Meghan and Harry to eventually renounce their rights to hold military and royal patronages and carry out royal duties.

Ahead of the publication of Harry’s memoir Spare, the Duke released a number of interviews with broadcasters on both sides of the pond.

Speaking with ABC Good Morning America’s Michael Strahan, Prince Harry himself said he doesn’t think it will ever be possible for him to return as a working member of the Firm.

He nevertheless showed a willingness to support the Commonwealth, something he and Meghan were doing as full-time working members of the Royal Family as the President and Vice-President of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust.

He said: “I don’t think it’s ever going to be possible, I don’t think that even if there was an agreement or an arrangement between me and my family there’s that third party that’s going to do everything they can to make sure that that isn’t possible, not stopping us from going back but making it unsurvivable.”

He continued: “Because that’s essentially breaking the relationship between us. There was something in the future where, you know, we can continue to support the Commonwealth that of course is on the table.”

Speaking with Anderson Cooper for the CBS’ 60 Minute programme, Harry also said he “can’t see that happening” when asked whether he sees a day where he could resume his senior role in the Firm.

He said, however, the ball is “very much” in the Royal Family’s court over healing the family rift, adding he looks “forward to having a relationship with my brother. I look forward to having a relationship with my father and other members of my family.”

Speaking with ITV’s Tom Bradby, the Duke said the royals haven’t shown “willingness to reconcile” so far, adding he doesn’t believe speaking his truth is “burning bridges”.

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