It was never about privacy

duke and duchess of sussexPhoto: Northern Ireland Office

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have never claimed to have left royal life for privacy reasons. Yet, this seems to be one of the more ongoing topics in news articles and comments about the couple.

The initial statement from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex came in January 2020. It said, “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. 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. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. 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.

We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge, and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.

Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex” 1

Following discussions, it was decided that they would step back completely, and the following statements were released. The Queen stated on 18 January 2020, “Following many months of conversations and more recent discussions, I am 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 recognise 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.

I want to thank them for all their dedicated work across this country, the Commonwealth and beyond, and am particularly proud of how Meghan has so quickly become one of the family.

It is my whole family’s hope that today’s agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life.” 2

A further statement from Buckingham Palace stated,”

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are grateful to Her Majesty and the Royal Family for their ongoing support as they embark on the next chapter of their lives.

As agreed in this new arrangement, they understand that they are required to step back from Royal duties, including official military appointments. They will no longer receive public funds for Royal duties.

With The Queen’s blessing, the Sussexes will continue to maintain their private patronages and associations. While they can no longer formally represent The Queen, the Sussexes have made clear that everything they do will continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty.

The Sussexes will not use their HRH titles as they are no longer working members of the Royal Family.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have shared their wish to repay Sovereign Grant expenditure for the refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, which will remain their UK family home.

Buckingham Palace does not comment on the details of security arrangements. There are well-established independent processes to determine the need for publicly-funded security.

This new model will take effect in the Spring of 2020.” 3

There is no mention of privacy as a reason for stepping back as senior royals. The Duchess of Sussex later confirmed this in a later aired clip of the Oprah interview when she spoke of everyone having a basic right to privacy.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex wrote about their general stance on the media in their now-defunct plan for the future on their website. They stated, “Their Royal Highnesses recognise that their roles as members of the Royal Family are subject to interest, and they welcome accurate and honest media reporting as well as being held to account if appropriate. Equally, like every member of society, they also value privacy as individuals and as a family.” 4

The first mention of anything resembling a wish for a more private life, or should I say ‘a basic right to privacy’, comes from the transition deal made with the royal family posted in February 2020. It states, “The Royal Family respect and understand the wish of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex to live a more independent life as a family, by removing the supposed ‘public interest’ justification for media intrusion into their lives. They remain a valued part of Her Majesty’s family.”5

But once again, this was not orginally cited by them as one of the reasons for leaving, so let’s stop making it about privacy and let them pave their own way.

  1. Sussex Royal
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  5. Sussex Royal

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