PRINCE Harry and Meghan were last night accused of wanting to have their cake and eat it as they walked away from royal duties.
The couple said yesterday they want a new life away from the spotlight in Canada but critics pointed out they are refusing to let go of all their royal privileges.
They want to keep their titles as Duke and Duchess of Sussex, their Windsor home Frogmore Cottage refurbished at a cost 2.4million to the taxpayer and their 600,000-a-year royal protection officers.
Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, will give up the 2million public funding they receive from the sovereign grant but will hang on to the cash they get from the Duchy of Cornwall.
And to become financially independent, experts say they will need to milk their royal connections.
Royal author Ingrid Seward said: They may well be perceived as having their cake and eating it.
It looks like they want to keep their royal status, perks and privilege, but not do the boring royal duties like opening a factory in Scunthorpe or visiting a hospital in Surrey.
I think this is potentially the beginning of the end for them. They want to act like glitzy American celebrities I feel very sorry for the Queen. Shes an old woman and doesnt want to upset her grandson.
‘BEGINNING OF THE END’
Graham Smith, from pressure group Republic, called the statement crass and self-serving.
He said: This really is wanting to have your cake and eat it. They have said they will dip in and out of royal duties as it suits them but wont stop taking public money until they find other sources of income.
To suggest that theyre not already financially independent is incredibly crass and belies a sense of self-entitlement and a lack of self-awareness that is common among royals.
What should be more concerning is that the Royal Familys star couple have effectively bowed out of their leading role and that raises questions about the monarchys future.
In the meantime taxpayers will rightly ask who will be funding their overseas lifestyle, their extra security and trips back and forth between here and North America.
The royal couple have just returned from Canada after a six-week holiday over Christmas
Harry and Meghan’s failure to consult other Royals has triggered outrage
The monarchy needs to be asked serious questions about what theyre up to. Its not good enough to be told to wait for clarification or to be left reading the tea leaves to work out what their intentions are.
The Queen and Prince Charles appear comfortable with all the trappings and formality of royal duties, but its increasingly clear that the younger generations are not so keen.
The Royal Family is in trouble and with the next succession on the horizon their problems are only going to get worse.
Royal watchers say the couples bid for freedom has echoes of Edward VIII, who abdicated so he could be with twice-divorced American Wallis Simpson in 1936. But the Sussexes, just 18 months into their marriage, have been planning their move for some time.
We told last year how they have quietly built up a commercial team in Hollywood, including Meghans former business manager and PR company Sunshine Sachs.
However, the final straw appeared to be the official release of a new royal portrait featuring the Queen, Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince George.
The insider said: That picture was the clearest indication that Harry and Meghan are not considered part of the future of the institution. From their point of view, from that moment on there was no point hanging around.
And privately, courtiers were shocked at the cavalier way the couple were treating the Royal Family, especially the Queen.
One said: This is a very old and complicated institution which sits at the heart of this country, Its nave to think that you could untangle yourself from it in a number of days. Its deeply unfair on the Queen to act this way.
Everything is up for discussion and nothing has been agreed. These discussions have been going on for a little more than a week.
Everyone is supportive of them wanting to do things differently. But stating what you want to do before its been agreed by the Sovereign should not be a definite.
Piers wrote the Queen was ‘bloody furious’ following the announcement
Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan pointed an accusing finger at the Duchess, writing on Twitter: People say Im too critical of Meghan Markle but she ditched her family, ditched her Dad, ditched most of her old friends, split Harry from William and has now split him from the Royal Family. I rest my case.
The couples statement comes after a turbulent year in which they faced flak over the Frogmore Cottage renovations and claims of hypocrisy for campaigning over climate change while taking flights.
They misled and upset royal fans with a bungled announcement of the arrival of son Archie in May.
Ground down by the criticism, they used an ITV documentary to voice their disquiet, with Meghan saying she was struggling, and Harry revealing he and brother William were on different paths.
Other members of the Royal Family were unhappy they appeared to be criticising the monarchy.
The Queen, also rattled by favourite son Andrews shame over his ties to billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, spoke of her bumpy year in her Christmas message.
In their statement, the couple insist they want to continue to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages and will raise their son with an appreciation for the royal tradition.
But Ms Seward added: Of course this is history repeating itself from nearly 100 years ago when another American made her husband chose between her and the Royal Family.
Within 18 months of marrying Meghan, Harry is walking away from both his job and his family.
What they’ve cost…
HARRY and Meghan have cost more than 50million since they became a couple.
That vast figure reflects a lifestyle that few husbands and wives would be capable of funding themselves.
Overseas tours have cost enormous sums and the wedding in May 2018 cost 32million alone.
Frogmore Cottage, the Duke and Duchess of Sussexs official residence, had a taxpayer-funded 2.4million renovation in the summer. And round-the-clock security for the home in Windsor is believed to cost 600,000 a year.
The couple paid up to 100,000 for a holiday to Ibiza in August and were criticised for using private jets. It is reported that they spent 800,000 throughout Meghans pregnancy including 385,000 on maternity clothes and a further 154,000 on a baby shower.
Their 16-day tour through Australia, Fiji and Tonga in October 2018 cost 81,000 and their trip to South Africa in the autumn is believed to have cost a similar amount.
The Prince of Wales paid 89,000 to fund the public duties of Harry and Meghan and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Royal accounts showed that Charless bill for Harry and Meghan and Wills and Kate, plus some other expenditure, came to 5.05million last year. That was up from 4.96million in 2017-18.
The Sussexes have now revealed that they plan on becoming financially independent. That would mean they no longer receive funding from the Sovereign Grant the money paid annually to the monarchy by the UK Government.
What they’ll make…
PRINCE Harry and Meghan could pocket a packet as the biggest Instagram influencers on the planet.
Multi-national firms would pay big to get the couple to promote their brands to their ten million followers.
Social media expert Paul Sutton said: They could make millions. They could be hugely successful.
Luxury jewellery firms would be particularly keen on Meghan.
He said Harry and Meghan could leapfrog the Kardashians as top earners. Megastar Kim, 39, gets around 728,000 per post and sister Kylie Jenner, 22, gets 960,000.
The couple could also make serious cash from high-profile public speaking events.
Former actress Meghan, 38, has also launched a clothing fashion line specialising in professional clothes for women seeking work.
She was reportedly worth 3.8million when she wed Harry, thanks to US TV legal drama Suits.
Experts do not expect her to return to acting.