Gather round, internet, because we have a lot to discuss. As you've likely heard, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are getting outta England after months of royal feud drama, and honestly the whole thing is a mess. New developments are emerging about the couples' decision every minute, and if you're enormously confused by this saga, fear not, friends. We're keeping track of every single update with a handy timeline which you can whip out next time your mom/BFF/annoying royal-obsessed coworker asks for your ~hot take~ on 2020's biggest scandal. Ready? LOL, me neither, but here goes!
JANUARY 8, 2020
Meghan and Harry casually hit Instagram and drop the bombshell news that they intend to step back as senior royals, become financially independent, and split their time between North America and the United Kingdom. Wowowowowow. Here's exactly what they put in their Insta caption:
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“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.” - The Duke and Duchess of Sussex For more information, please visit sussexroyal.com (link in bio) Image © PA
Meghan and Harry also reveal a shiny new website outlining how they plan to distance themselves from the royal rota system of reporting, and instead engage with grassroots media organizations and up-and-coming journalists. In other words, they don't care about the British press (some of whom the couple happens to be suing).
In 2020 Harry and Meghan will be changing how they work with the media, to ensure diverse and open access to their work. Over the months ahead, through a phased approach, they plan to: pic.twitter.com/KyzW9hEcRs— Omid Scobie (@scobie) January 8, 2020
And in a pretty shocking twist, it turns out that the rest of the royal family has received zero heads-up about what Meghan and Harry are up to, with BBC News royal correspondent Jonny Dymond tweeting, “BBC understands that no other member of the Royal Family was consulted before Harry and Meghan issued their personal statement tonight, the Palace is understood to be ‘disappointed.’”
BREAKING. BBC Understands that no other member of the Royal Family was consulted before Harry and Meghan issued their personal statement tonight, the Palace is understood to be ‘disappointed’.— Jonny Dymond (@JonnyDymond) January 8, 2020
Buckingham Palace then goes ahead and drops the most terse and salty statement E-V-E-R, saying “Discussion with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage. We understand the desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.”
There are obviously a *lot* of unanswered questions (will the Sussexes keep their titles?!), especially with regards to how Archie's parents will truly distance themselves from the Queen's fortune. But um, is now a good time to mention that both Meghan's *and* Harry's net worth are beyond massive? And their real estate portfolio isn't too shabby, either. They'll be juuuuuust fine.
JANUARY 9, 2020
Reports stream in about how the royals are feeling about Prince Harry peacing out, and nope...no one is okay! Let's start with Prince William, because this source quote from Us Weekly is pretty telling:
Meanwhile, check out this series of quotes from royal aides who spoke to the Daily Mail, claiming the Queen and her fam were “deeply disappointed” by Meghan and Harry:
Completely insane, right? But plot twist: In the middle of this total sh*tshow, Kate Middleton reminds everyone that it's her freakin' birthday and drops a casual portrait of herself perched on a fence:
Meghan and Harry comment on her post, writing "Wishing a very happy birthday to The Duchess of Cambridge today!" which we can all agree is a nice gesture. Buuuuut apparently William isn't having it, and a source tells Us Weekly that “Harry and Meghan rubbed salt into the wounds by making the huge announcement a day before Kate’s birthday. It hasn’t gone down well with William.”
At this point the internet starts to get pretty judge-y about how Meghan and Harry are handling this whole thing, but hark! A new report comes through claiming Harry tried to meet with the Queen about his plans, and was shot down by her courtiers.
According to the Evening Standard, our dude “originally contacted Prince Charles about spending more time in Canada and America just before Christmas,” and then asked for a “summit with the Queen at Sandringham.” She said yes, but THEN the meeting was reportedly blocked by palace courtiers (!!!!) and the queen told Harry not to go public. Which, well...he did anyway.
JANUARY 10, 2020
Already exhausted? Sorry, there's still so much to discuss thanks to the extremely !!!! news that Meghan peaced out of England and returned to Canada to reunite with Archie (and her two dogs), leaving Harry to deal with fallout from his family. FYI that the trip is said to be temporary, with royal reporter Chris Ship tweeting that Meghan should be back in the UK within several days:
So Prince Harry remains in the UK - presumably to start/resume/continue/end discussions with his family about his future. Meghan is indeed in Canada. It’s apparently a brief visit. It would appear to pick up Archie who wasn’t brought back to the UK for the big family bust up— Chris Ship (@chrisshipitv) January 9, 2020
Meanwhile, we finally get some insight into *why* Meghan and Harry want to step down as senior royals, with Harry's friend Tom Bradby saying "really bad personal splits" are behind their decision. He also dramatically muses, “There’ve been a lot of fallouts; a lot of harsh things were said around the time of the wedding. And it’s gone a bit too far. And certainly the rest of the family find Harry and Meghan very difficult, and from Harry and Meghan’s point of view, they’re just being driven out, as they see it. And it’s sad.”
P.S. Meghan's sister Samantha Markle also chimes in (because of course she does), giving this salty statement:
JANUARY 11, 2020
Harry's friend JJ Chalmers hits up The One Show and spills a bunch of tea on why Harry wants out, saying "The decision that he has made, at the forefront of that is to protect his family, because that’s the number one rule is to be a father and to be a husband." He continues:
In addition to this insight, a source confirms to Us Weekly that Meghan and Harry were pressured into making their announcement because British tabloid The Sun scooped them. Per the source: "It was the paper’s front page hours before the official announcement, so Harry and Meghan technically didn’t beat them to it."
Meanwhile at the Palace, the Queen tells officials to "turn a crisis into an opportunity" and come up with a plan in case future generations (aka Princess Charlotte or Prince Louis) decide to step down as senior royals.
Ah, this is simply too much! On top of allllllll that, news breaks that Meghan has reportedly inked a deal to do voiceover work with Disney in exchange for a donation to a wildlife charity called Elephants Without Borders. Watch a video of Prince Harry seemingly talking to Disney CEO Bob Iger about the opp here:
JANUARY 12, 2020
The Sunday Times claims that Prince William has expressed "sadness" about his severed bond with Harry, reportedly telling a friend:
Meanwhile, The Sun reports that Harry and Meghan "fast-tracked" plans to step down because Harry was concerned about Meghan's happiness:
JANUARY 13, 2020
Ahead of the royal summit (and amid speculation that a tell-all interview is coming), Prince Harry and Prince William issue a joint statement through their spokesperson, saying "Despite clear denials, a false story ran in a UK newspaper today speculating about the relationship between The Duke of Sussex and The Duke of Cambridge. For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful."
We also find out that Kate Middleton is allegedly super "hurt" by Harry's decision, and "hates seeing her husband so upset.”
But wait, there's more! The Queen releases her first official statement following Meghan and Harry's announcement—and it's pretty shady. Notably, she does NOT call them "Duke and Duchess," which, gulp. Read it in full here:
So this statement just about confirms that Meghan and Harry will be heading to Canada and working from there soon. Shortly after the Queen released her statement, the British and Canadian press release opposing stories on if Meghan and Harry's security detail will be covered by Canadian taxpayer money.
Evening Standard claims that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau let it slip to the Queen that Meghan, Harry, and Archie's safety will be protected while they live there. Why? Because Canada will pay an estimated £500,000 pounds in taxpayer dollars for their security needs.
On the other hand, Canada's Finance Minister, Bill Morneau, says he hasn't come to a decision yet. "No, we haven't spent any time thinking about this issue," he tells a CBC reporter. "We obviously are always looking to make sure, as a member of the Commonwealth, we play a role. We have not had any discussions on that subject at this time." So basically, it's all up in the air right now!
Stay tuned for more updates, because in case you haven't noticed this story is developing faster than you can say "Calm Down, 2020."