The Duke and Duchess of Sussex shocked the world in January 2020 by announcing that they would step back from royal duties. Despite showing public support for the couple’s decision, inside sources have said the Queen was privately upset about their departure. And celebs also voiced their opinion on the move, including Dame Helen Mirren, famous for playing the monarch in 2006.
Now, arrangements for the couple’s new relationship with the royal family came after “intense” discussions among senior royals. And while the monarch’s official view on their decision itself was incredibly supportive, privately, it seems, that wasn’t entirely the case. That reported gulf in opinion, though, may well stem from the way the Sussexes made their stepping down public.
You see, Meghan and Harry’s announcement to quit was not made known to the Queen prior to it coming out. Yes, comprising a statement posted to their official website and Instagram, the news allegedly took the monarch completely by surprise. The message read, “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.”
Following that, royal insiders told the BBC that the Queen had no idea it was coming. Reporter Jonny Dymond tweeted, “BBC understands that no other member of the royal family was consulted before Harry and Meghan issued their personal statement.” A later tweet quoted a palace source, and said, “that senior members of the royal family felt ‘hurt’ by the sudden announcement.”
But it wasn’t just the Queen who reportedly was upset by Meghan and Harry’s announcement. Indeed, Prince William allegedly told royal insiders he was “blindsided” by it. Talking to US Weekly, an anonymous source said, “It’s sad because when they were younger, William would be the first person Harry would go to with big news like this.”
The insider then continued, “William is incredibly hurt, but at the same time, he has his own family to focus on and is trying to move forward with his life.” And it wasn’t just members of the royal family that had strong feelings about Meghan and Harry’s departure. That’s right, social media went into meltdown.
And reactions started with somewhat melodramatic outpourings of love. One social media user wrote, “The British people never appreciated you and now you belong to the world!” Another added, “This is so sad!” While a third posted, “Amazing decision, very courageous and absolutely the right thing to do.” Not everyone, though, was quite so positive.
Yes, it seems that the timing of the couple’s statement irked many social media users. One wrote, “They deserve all the criticism coming their way! How rude not to discuss this with Her Majesty or the future king!” Another commented, “It’s your choice, but it’s extremely disrespectful.” Some tweets, though, just went for comedy.
One Twitter user wrote, “Meghan Markle just pulled off the greatest theft of British property since the Revolutionary War.” Meanwhile, author Eric Nelson quipped, “First time I’ve seen someone quit their family saying it’s to spend more time with their jobs.” Another social media user joked, “This is my favorite heist. The woman straight-up stole a prince. Incredible.”
Anyway, the couple are well-connected in the world of celebrity. And following their announcement, many famous friends voiced their support for the decision on social media. Jessica Mulroney, stylist and mother of the twin boys in Meghan’s bridal party, tweeted an encouraging message. It read. “A strong woman looks a challenge in the eye and gives it a wink.”
From there, messages came in thick and fast. Actor and close friend of the Duchess, Jameela Jamil, retweeted the couple’s statement, but with a message of her own. The comment simply read, “And that folks, is what power looks like,”followed by a crown emoji. However, close pal and TV presenter Oprah Winfrey, went much further.
Talking to TMZ at the time, the media mogul told the network that she supported the couple’s decision, “1,000 percent.” She went on, “I support them because, I believe when you have thought about it for as long as they have … And just as Harry said in that charity statement… he had to make the decision to move forward in peace with his new family.”
Oprah concluded, “Who doesn’t feel what it takes to make that decision to give up everything you’ve known, to say, ‘I’m going to choose this new life’?” And the media mogul’s best friend and TV presenter wholeheartedly agreed. Gayle King, who’s known Meghan for a long time, also voiced her support to TMZ.
As the presenter went on to explain, “[Meghan and Harry] didn’t make the decision in a vacuum. There were a lot of conversations [about their departure].” And on the Queen’s unofficial reaction, King stated, “I thought it was very unfair to say the Queen was blindsided. Even the Queen’s own statement said these conversations had been going on for months.”
Unsurprisingly, King further told TMZ that she thought the outcry over Meghan and Harry’s departure was “unfair.” Elsewhere on the web, the couple’s supporters looked to the lighter side of the situation. A tweet from entertainment reporter Chris Witherspoon, begged producers of The Crown to skip ahead a few years and concentrate on the Sussexes. He said, “That would be event TV!”
That tweet then prompted Oscar-nominated filmmaker Ava DuVernay to offer her talents to the Netflix show. She replied, “If they need a director….” The post was accompanied by a gif featuring Jennifer Lawrence in her role in The Hunger Games. And it was captioned, “I volunteer as tribute!”
However, other reactions to the couple’s announcement went straight for the comedy jugular. Comedian Amy Schumer, who has, in the past, described Meghan as her nemesis, posted a hilarious pictorial tribute. Uploaded to Instagram, it featured an image of Schumer being pushed along the beach in a wheelchair by her husband. It simply read, “Chris and I are formally stepping down from our royal duties.”
Arguably winning the award for best Twitter joke about leaving the royal family, though, was The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. Referencing the idea that Meghan and Harry might need some work, the show’s official account posted a fake job ad. It began, “Attention: The Daily Show with Trevor Noah is looking for two new employees.”
It continued, “Prospective applicants must: speak impeccable English be very good at waving, have attended one or more weddings that involve swords, have two-plus years experience as a member of a royal family.” But the hilarious and somewhat on the nose post didn’t end there.
Indeed, the tweet explained the proviso that any prospective applicant must, “make any castle/manor you own available for work parties.” However, there were some celebs who very much didn’t see the funny side of the couple’s stepping down. And of those, Piers Morgan was among the loudest.
Journalist and Good Morning Britain presenter Morgan has publicly criticized the Duchess before. And the couple’s official announcement didn’t impress the self-confessed royal family lover at all. Calling the Sussexes “shameless, spoiled brats,” he then went on to slam the former Suits actress. His tweet began, “People say I’m too critical of Meghan Markle.”
And Morgan went on, “But, [Meghan has] 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.” But his criticism didn’t stop there. The presenter later retweeted the BBC report alleging that the couple kept their plans from the Queen. However, he also added his own comment.
Yes, the former editor wrote, “Wow. What a disgraceful way to treat the Queen. Shame on Harry and Meghan.” Following that, someone who not only knows Prince Harry, but has also played his grandmother, weighed in on the situation. Now, Dame Helen Mirren won an Oscar for her portrayal of the monarch in 2006’s The Queen. And she and the prince once had a rather interesting encounter.
You see, Mirren and Harry were chatting during an awards ceremony following the success of The Queen. As the Oscar-winner told Good Morning Britain in early 2019, “Harry and William have mentioned [me playing the monarch] and they have been very funny and cool about it.” However, that night the Prince made a rather unfunny joke.
As Mirren went on to explain, “Harry once, at an awards ceremony said, ‘And granny’s here.’” He was, of course, referring to Mirren. She went on, “I was rather insulted by that. I mean, really!” Despite Harry’s seemingly insensitive joke, the Oscar-winner doesn’t seem to hold a grudge.
During that GMB interview, Mirren praised Meghan joining the royal family. The actor said, “I think, right from the moment that relationship was revealed, she conducted herself with incredible self-restraint, elegance, discipline, simplicity and humility.” The Oscar-winner went on, “It’s an incredibly difficult life to lead, talk about pressure!”
Mirren concluded, “I think [Meghan] is doing it with great elegance.” However, that interview took place around a year before the Sussexes announced they were jetting off to America. So how, exactly, did the actor feel about the couple’s decision now? Well, during a February 2020 interview with Variety magazine, she expressed her true feelings.
That’s right, Mirren went on to explain, “I think their instincts are absolutely right, and I applaud them for it. Of course, it’s complicated.” The actor then gave her opinion on Meghan herself, stating that she was “a fantastic addition to the royal family.”
The Oscar-winner continued, “[Meghan is] charming, did everything right, was gracious, was sweet-natured.” Mirren went on, “So, I think it is a loss in a way, but at the same time, I think their instincts are absolutely correct.” However, the actress still had hope for the couple, and the royal family’s future.
Mirren told Variety, “I think it will all, hopefully, sort itself out, and the tabloid pearl-clutchers will get over their trauma at not having someone to attack all the time. They’ll find another victim, probably me!” And the Oscar-winner isn’t the only Hollywood type on the Sussexes’ side.
You see, since making the move to Los Angeles, Meghan and Harry have been living in the sprawling, multi-million dollar Beverly Hills home of movie mogul Tyler Perry. And as befitting an A-List couple, it seems the offers of work have come pouring in. But it’s unlikely the couple will take much of it.
According to British newspaper the Daily Mail in April 2020, a source close to the couple’s agent claimed lucrative offers were “worth millions of dollars.” The insider went on, “Some offers are definitely in their wheelhouse of charity ideas.” But many of the proposed projects are reportedly far more commercial.
The source went on, “Some [offers] are straight-up advertising and marketing promotions.” And it seems Japanese companies are willing to pay a lot of money to secure the couple’s services. The insider revealed, “One commercial could pay for their entire security team for a year.” That situation, though, seems unlikely to happen.
That’s right, because in the same Daily Mail piece, the source revealed a proviso the couple reportedly put in place when it comes to choosing new projects. Yes, Meghan and Harry, it seems, will refuse any offer of work that might be “detrimental to the Queen.” Furthermore, the insider explained that includes any jobs that made fun of the royal family.
The insider said, “Harry has instructed his and Meghan’s team to nix anything that in any way could be negative toward the Queen, Prince Charles, [Prince William], or the throne.” The source went on, “It shows that even though he has stepped away from royal life, he does not want to upset his grandmother or father.”
Even so, the Daily Mail revealed more details about the offers the Sussexes has received. Indeed, the list of companies after their services reportedly includes banks, medical corporations, liquor companies and sporting firms. And while it’s unlikely they’ll take any of those jobs, there is one company the pair definitely don’t mind working with.
You see, April 2020 saw the release of Meghan’s first official project as a post-royal. The Disney documentary Elephant features the Duchess as narrator, and follows a herd of the big gray mammals on their yearly migration. Telling tales of the animals’ adventures along the way, the movie received some positive reviews.
For example, Empire magazine praised Meghan’s contribution to the movie. Ian Freer wrote, “Her excitable tones are a perfect fit for the natural-history-with-the-edges-removed remit.” Meanwhile, IndieWire noted, “She mostly seems really excited to be there.” But despite reports that the former actress is making a return to the screen, the couple’s charities will continue to compete for their attention.
In one case, Harry’s Invictus charity, which supports injured veterans, recently had to cancel its 2020 games event. That, however, didn’t stop the Prince from persuading rocker Jon Bon Jovi to record a song for the organization. “Unbroken,” featuring the Invictus Games Choir, was released in spring that year. And no, the royal didn’t lend his vocals to the track.
However, the couple’s main focus going forward appears to be their Archewell foundation, named after their son, Archie. But despite announcing the charity in April 2020, sources report that the Sussexes are still laying the groundwork. Talking to Vanity Fair magazine in July, an insider said, “They are in no hurry. They want to get this right. This is something that they want to do for the rest of their lives.”