Confused About How All This Royal Drama Unfolded? We Gotchu

Gather round, internet, because we have a lot to discuss. As you’ve likely heard, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are getting the f*ck outta England after months of royal feud drama, and honestly, the whole thing is a mess. New developments are emerging about the couple’s decision every damn 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 that 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:

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’re giving a big FU to the British press (some of which 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:

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’.

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.”

Buckingham Palace have sent their own statement out, adding that discussions with the couple are at “an early stage.”

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 worths are beyond massive? And their real estate portfolio isn’t too shabby either. They’ll be juuust 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:

Oh, and if you’re wondering how Prince Charles feels about the whole thing, a source tells The Sun he’s “incandescent with rage,” which is…yikes:

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 giving zero effs:

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. Buuut 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 judgy 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, 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

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 that “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 half-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:

[email protected] is here to share his thoughts on #HarryandMeghan’s exit with @PatricKielty and @missAlexjones

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 alllll that, news breaks that Meghan has reportedly inked a deal to do voice-over 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 op 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:

Clearly, things are a mess, so the queen schedules a summit in Sandringham with Harry, William, Charles, and Meghan (who plans to call in from Canada). A source lays out what they’ll discuss, saying:

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.”

A joint statement from the spokespeople of Prince William and Prince Harry:

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:

Shortly after this, the British press and the Canadian press release opposing stories on whether Meghan and Harry’s security detail will be covered by Canadian taxpayer money, with the Evening Standard claiming Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada would pay an estimated £500,000 pounds in taxpayer dollars for the Sussexes’ security needs. Meanwhile, Canada’s finance minister, Bill Morneau, says he hasn’t come to a decision yet, telling a CBC reporter, “No, we haven’t spent any time thinking about this issue. 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.”

January 14, 2020

Amid speculation that Meghan was “barred” from calling into the royal summit, the palace releases a statement saying that “the Sussexes decided that it wasn’t necessary for The Duchess to join.”

So we’ve now had some clarification from the palace. They said: “In the end, The Sussexes decided that it wasn’t necessary for The Duchess to join [the summit].” But we understand Harry was in contact with his wife while at Sandringham, to keep her in the loop.

We also get a little more insight into Prince William and Prince Harry’s drama, with a source telling The Sun they had a “falling out” right before a summer polo match and tensions escalated as a result. Yiiikes.

January 18, 2020

The palace releases a statement from Queen Elizabeth, saying she’s come to an “agreement” with Harry and Meghan:

Details about the agreement are also released, and the major takeaways are that Harry and Meghan are giving up their royal titles, will no longer receive public funds, will pay back the country for their Frogmore Cottage renovations, will pay rent on said cottage, and can no longer represent the queen. Wow!

January 19, 2020

Prince Harry gives a lengthy speech about his “royal exit,” which you can read in full over here. In it, he says the following:

On top of that, a royal source tells People that the arrangement, which goes into effect spring 2020, will last for a year before the royal fam revisits it—presumably to see if it’s working out for everyone.

January 21, 2020

In a rather interesting update, we find out that the Queen had thoughts of removing Meghan and Harry’s Sussex titles (they would have been downgraded to Earl and Countess), but ultimately decides not to. Why? Because she isn’t interested in being “petty,” according to the Evening Standard. True story! “The Sussex title is one of the ancient royal dukedoms given to him ahead of his wedding to Meghan, along with other titles. Removing it was seriously considered and discussed at the highest level,” the publication confirms.

February 22, 2020

Meghan and Harry are no longer allowed to use the word “royal” in any of their branding by order of the Queen, meaning that their website and Instagram handle will have to go by a new name. In response to the news, Meghan and Harry post a statement on their website:

The statement also adds:

Apparently, losing the trademark makes Meghan furious. A Daily Mail source reveals that Meghan vented to her “inner circle” about it and believes it “shouldn’t even be an issue in the first place and it’s not like they want to be in the business of selling T-shirts and pencils…She said they know what their true intentions are and that’s all that matters.”

And if that already wasn’t spicy enough, Megan is reportedly done with the drama and tension in the royal fam. “Meghan said she’s done with the drama and has no room in her life for naysayers, and the same goes for Harry,” the source adds. “Meghan has told her inner circle that their success is inevitable with or without their current brand name…She said regardless of the name, Harry and Archie have royal blood and no one can take that away. And that as a family, they will always be considered royalty.”

Meghan’s in good company, because guess what! The Queen is pretty pissed off about this too. She thinks that Meghan and Harry handled the trademark rejection poorly, and is “so disappointed that her own grandchild would heap so much embarrassment on the monarchy and bring all this unwanted attention on his family at the worst possible time,” a source told Us Weekly. Ooof.

While all of this is going on, Meghan and Harry also release a separate statement on their website about how they felt leaving behind their “loyal” staff members at Frogmore Cottage. They wrote:

February 26, 2020

Harry asks to be called only by his first name during is last set of royal engagements, which for some reason makes me feel EXTREMELY emo. During the Travalyst working summit in Scotland, host Ayesha Hazarika introduces Harry before he steps onto the stage and says, “He wants to say a few words to kick start the day, and he’s made it clear that we are all just to call him ‘Harry.’ So, ladies and gentlemen please give a big Scottish welcome to Harry.” Nope, I am not crying!

February 27, 2020

Looks like Canada won’t be footing the bill for Meghan and Harry’s security anymore! The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, also known as RCMP, issues a statement through CBC and says:

Since Harry and Meghan will no longer be covered by the good country of Canada, they’ll have to start paying out of pocket for it. On their Sussex Royal website, Meghan and Harry discuss the issue, saying:

March 3, 2020

Harry and the Queen meet for an emotional four hour heart-to-heart so they can talk about all the drama surrounding Megxit. Thankfully, it goes really well! The Queen allegedly offers Harry and Meghan a chance to come back if they ever change their minds about the whole thing. According to The Sun’s Dan Wootton, the Queen concludes their conversation by saying, “You are much loved and will always be welcomed back,” and a source says that “hopefully, it cleared the air.”

“The queen had a lot to talk to Harry about and this was the ideal time for them to both say their piece,” the source explains. “When Harry and Meghan announced they wanted to quit, it all happened very quickly and it was very stressful for all concerned. Sunday was the first time the queen has had the chance to talk to Harry on his own and really find out what his plans are. It was a much more relaxed environment and they were both able to speak their mind.”

So like, does that mean the Queen is letting all this drama become water under the bridge? Er, not quite. The source says the Queen is still “very upset about him and Meghan leaving and she would love to see more of Archie, as would Prince Charles and the rest of the family. But she accepts at the moment that his mind is made up and he intends to live in North America.”

The Queen also clarifies some things to Harry. Apparently, she “wanted to make it clear that the arrangement can only work if they do not exploit their royal status and try to ‘cash in’—that’s why she wouldn’t let them use the word ‘royal’ for their foundation. The queen is protecting the institution and she is also aware of the cost of security. That is something that still needs to be resolved. But Harry is also a much-loved grandson who she has always doted on. She made it very clear to him that he and Meghan are always able to come back if they change their minds and she will welcome them with open arms.”

It’s a start!

March 9, 2020

Meghan and Harry attend Commonwealth Day—alongside William and Kate— for their last royal event before formally stepping back from their senior royal duties. Meghan shows up in a LEWK:

Lewks aside though, things are a bit weird because for the first time, Meghan, Harry, Kate and William are asked to not join in on the Queen’s official royal procession during the Commonwealth Day service. Apparently, this hurt Meghan and Harry’s feelings, as a Daily Mail source says they feel “quite sensitive and emotional about it.” I mean, hey—they are still royals until March 31! If I was in their shoes, I’d be kinda pissed too.

Stay tuned for more updates, because in case you haven’t noticed, this story is developing faster than you can say, “Calm TF down, 2020.”

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