Harry and Meghan: The vast chasm between what the Sussexes said they wanted and what they got

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex had boldly declared that they would pursue a “progressive new role” within the royal family. Yet in the event, they ended up with no role at all.

The differences between the future role confidently outlined by the couple when they first signalled their intentions to “step back” and the reality are stark, suggesting the queen denied them their wish to keep one foot within the Firm.

When Harry and Meghan made their shock announcement on January 8, it was accompanied by the launch of a glossy website, packed with statements about how their new lives would look. This weekend it became clear the Sussexes had jumped the gun.

What they said: They would “carve out a progressive new role” and “adjust their working model”.

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The reality: They will not have a role in the institution and as such no working model. Their lives as members of the Firm will end in the spring. Instead, the couple are free to seek any employment they want.

What they said: They would continue their royal duties and “fully support” the queen, the Commonwealth and their patronages. Their website said they’d “continue to collaborate” while also working “externally”.

The reality: Buckingham Palace made clear after five days of intense negotiations, the Sussexes would no longer represent the queen in any capacity. Their work will be undertaken independently and there appears little scope for any collaboration. As such, all of their work will be external.

What they said: Their new careers will be built on the Sussex royal brand.

The reality: The use of that moniker now hangs in jeopardy with royal aides admitting they did not know whether the couple would be free to continue trading on their “royal” heritage.

If they are told they cannot use the term, they will be forced to rebrand their social media platforms, website and their new charitable foundation.

What they said: That 95pc of their funding is derived from the Duchy of Cornwall via the Prince of Wales.

The reality: Prince Charles has agreed to finance them in the short term, although this is more likely to be from his private income.

What they said: The refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage was funded by the queen, “reflecting the monarchy’s responsibility to maintain the upkeep of buildings with historical significance”.

The reality: The couple have agreed to repay the £2.4m (€2.8m) refurbishment cost. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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