Why People Say Meghan And Harry Live Out A 'Third Way' Of Being Royals

Despite having stepped down from official royal duties in January 2020 (per Time), they stood alongside the royal family as they grieved the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. Having already been in the U.K. as part of their European tour — according to the Evening Standard — Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, and Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, canceled a string of appearances to mourn the late monarch.

The couple stayed in the U.K. until the queen's state funeral on September 19, flying back the following day to return to their children in California (via InStyle). Their public appearances during this time reignited the reasoning behind their initial departure in 2020 when they decided to leave the royal family and live an independent life away from the British media. "It was destroying my mental health," Prince Harry told James Corden on "The Late Late Show." The duke explained that his experience felt toxic, so he "did what any husband and what any father would do."

Meghan and Harry's 'third way' of being royals, explained

However, there was a point before stepping down when Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, proposed a different way of leading royal life. British weekly magazine The Spectator described this as the "third way" of being a royal, "representing the Queen one day, earning serious money the next." A royal insider explained this proposal in detail to the Daily Mail, suggesting that Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, were looking to serve Queen Elizabeth II still and keep their royal titles and patronages — while also earning their own money rather than relying on the Sovereign Grant and the Privy Purse (via the official royal family site).

"If your primary role is to serve the head of state and the monarchy, then it's very hard to do that if you are earning millions on the side," the source explained to the Daily Mail. "That's philanthropy, not public service . . . It's just that model of how they are doing it is different from how the royal family do it."

Buckingham Palace issued a statement about this proposed way of royalty

According to the Mirror, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex wanted to continue working for the charities, organizations, and patronages they were associated with, in addition to Prince Harry keeping military titles like Captain General of the Royal Marines. But as Buckingham Palace said in a statement (via the official royal family site), in "stepping away from the work of the Royal Family, it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service."

So it was decided by the queen that Harry and Meghan could not live out their "third way" of being royals and therefore had to return "the honorary military appointments and royal patronages" to the queen, which were then "redistributed among working members of the royal family." However, Buckingham Palace did clarify that while the royal family was "saddened by their decision," they remained "much loved members of the royal family."

In response, a spokesperson for the duke and duchess said that they'd offered "their continued support to the organizations they have represented regardless of official role" and that "we can all live a life of service. Service is universal" (via BBC News).