'Damaging for the Royal family' public react to Harry and Meghan 'stepping back'

9 January 2020, 12:18

The Royal couple announced they would be "stepping back" as "senior Royals"
The Royal couple announced they would be "stepping back" as "senior Royals". Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The public has had mixed reactions to the news that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex intend to step back as senior members of the Royal family and "plan to balance [their] time between the United Kingdom and North America."

While some expressed sadness at the couple's decision, others voiced concern it could lead to them losing their Royal titles.

Outside the Queen's Sandringham estate one member of the public who was questioned by reporters said Harry and Meghan must not trade off their royal status and should repay public money spent on Frogmore Cottage, their home on the Windsor Estate.

Taxpayers paid £2.4 million to renovate the Grade-2 listed building, which the couple moved into just nine months ago.

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Downing Street refused to be drawn on Prime Minister Boris Johnson's view of the Sussexes' move, insisting it was a matter for the royal household.

"It's one for the Royal household, (there's) nothing from me," the Prime Minister's official spokesman said.

One Royal superfan told LBC news it was "damaging for the Royal family, " outside Buckingham Palace just hours after the news broke, the Union Jack clad Monarchy supporter said the fact they didn't inform the Queen was "the worst thing."

He said he was worried they could lose their Royal titles or even divorce.

Harry and Meghan did not consult Queen over decision to 'step back' as senior royals

The fan complained the Royal couple were hiding from the public, branding their lack of pubic appearances as a "crisis."

When asked what message he would give to Harry and Meghan his answer was simple, "please don't do this, we want you back," adding "they're saying their goodbyes to Britain."

Debra Burgess-Lim, 59, from King's Lynn near Sandringham, said she hopes the decision will not be permanent.

She added: "He's a great asset and everyone really loves him. It's really sad that he feels he has to do that.

"I hope they just take it as time goes on because his brother (the Duke of Cambridge) will need support going forward once he becomes king."

Her daughter Maisy Lim, 24, said: "I think it's just a shame. It will be different."

The couple’s announcement was described as a “personal statement” by a Buckingham Palace spokesperson
The couple’s announcement was described as a “personal statement” by a Buckingham Palace spokesperson. Picture: PA

But Steve Reeves, 63, of nearby North Wootton, said it could be a "great thing" for the Sussexes.

"I just think it's good because they're a young family and Royal duties are hectic and I think as a young family they should have time for themselves while they're young with their children," he said.

"I'm pretty sure there's other Royals who could step in and step up to the plate."

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But Simon Webb, 73, of King's Lynn, said: "I think if they're going to (step back from Royal duties) then they need to pay the money back on Frogmore House because that's only just a recent thing.

"I think also they can't trade off the Royal name.

"Otherwise they can do what they like.

"I don't think they can keep dipping in and out as it suits them, because that's what they seem to do.

"I think I feel for the Queen on this if they haven't consulted with her, she must find that difficult."

Harry and Meghan were married in May 2018
Harry and Meghan were married in May 2018. Picture: PA

Royal commentators have warned Harry and Meghan's "extraordinary" decision to quit has not been properly thought through.

Penny Junor told reporters that the move was reminiscent of Harry's mother Diana, Princess of Wales, and not consulting the monarch and the Prince of Wales was impetuous and "beyond bizarre".

"It has echoes of Diana when she suddenly announced after her separation (from Charles) that she was stepping back from 50 of her charities without consulting anybody," Ms Junor said.

"All those charities were absolutely devastated. It's the same kind of impetuous behaviour.

"The problem is that they are not working for themselves, they are working for a family firm and to be making announcements of this sort without consulting is beyond bizarre."

The royal author added: "I can't quite see how it's going to work. I don't think it's been properly thought through."

Reportedly the Queen was not informed before the couple made the announcement
Reportedly the Queen was not informed before the couple made the announcement. Picture: PA

Meanwhile, friends of Meghan have reacted with Jessica Mulroney, a close friend of the Duchess of Sussex has posted a quote on Instagram about a "strong woman" facing a challenge.

The Canadian stylist and TV star, believed to be a key member of Meghan's inner circle, has spoken out in the past about her royal friend's critics.

Following Harry and Meghan's bombshell statement on Wednesday evening, Mulroney shared a picture of a quote attributed to Gina Carey, which said: "A strong woman looks a challenge in the eye and gives it a wink."

The picture was not captioned and comments appeared to have been turned off on the post.

Mulroney is married to Ben Mulroney, son of former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney, and her twin boys Brian and John and daughter Ivy were pageboys and bridesmaid at Harry and Meghan's wedding.