The couple stunned the world this morning when they announced in a statement: “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.”
In the bombshell announcement, Prince Harry and Meghan said they now planned to balance their time between the UK and North America and would soon be launching a “new charitable entity”.
RELATED: World’s savage reaction to royal news
THE CLUE WE ALL MISSED
Looking back on it, it’s clear that Prince Harry and Meghan had been planning their departure from the royal family for quite some time.
The biggest clue of all was when they filed to register the name of their charitable foundation, Sussex Royal, as a trademark.
They made that application back in June last year, but it wasn’t published on Britain’s Intellectual Property Office website until December 20.
RELATED: Huge cost of Harry and Meghan’s decision
The trademark application covers a wide range of goods and services from books to clothing and educational and charitable campaigns, according to Reuters.
The application doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll be seeing Prince Harry and Meghan releasing their own line of T-shirts or signature fragrance, but it gives them the right to take legal action if anyone uses their name on products in the future.
The trademark application was the last in a series of calculated moves Prince Harry and Meghan made last year to distance themselves from the royal family.
OTHER STEPS THEY TOOK TO BREAK AWAY FROM THE FIRM
In 2019, the gap between Prince Harry and Meghan and the rest of the royals grew wider.
It started back in March when it was announced that the Queen had granted permission for the couple to break away from the household of Kensington Palace and set up their own household at Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor estate.
“This long-planned move will ensure that permanent support arrangements for the Duke and Duchess’s work are in place as they start their family and move to their official residence at Frogmore Cottage,” a spokesman said in a statement at the time.
The move meant that Prince Harry and Meghan were able to hire their own staff, including a hotshot communications secretary, Sara Latham, who previously worked for the Clintons.
Just a couple of months later in June, Prince Harry and Meghan announced that they were splitting from the Royal Foundation, a charity that Prince Harry and Prince William established together in 2009.
Instead they launched their own charity, Sussex Royal: The Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
“I think this is all about them pursuing different trajectories,” Katie Nicholl, the author of Harry and Meghan: Life, Loss, and Love, told Time magazine in June. “While they might be sentimental about the whole thing, they also have to be pragmatic, and this makes sense.”
DID THE QUEEN HINT AT HARRY AND MEGHAN’S SHOCK MOVE?
There are reports today that other members of the royal family were blindsided by Prince Harry and Meghan’s announcement to step back as senior royals.
That’s certainly backed up by a hastily written statement released by Buckingham Palace in response to the bombshell announcement.
“Discussions with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage,” the statement read. “We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.”
However, some royal watchers have suggested the Queen has been dropping clues about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s intention to walk away from the royal family for weeks.
The Queen, as always, was surrounded by photos of members of the royal family when she gave her annual Christmas speech in December.
There was a photo of Prince William and Kate with their kids, a photo of Prince Charles and Camilla and one of Prince Phillip. However, there were no photos featuring Prince Harry, Meghan or their son Archie.