It's been one year since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced they were stepping down as senior members of the royal family.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex surprised many around the world on Jan. 8, 2020, when they revealed that they had decided to step down as senior members of the royal family. Now, a year later, it appears as if it's unlikely they will ever return to their former royal roles.
"The general consensus is that this 'divorce' has worked," royal expert Katie Nicholl tells ET. "Meghan and Harry left the royal family to become independent, to become financially independent. They've absolutely achieved that this year. They can now look back a year on and probably celebrate their decision."
After announcing their split, Meghan, 39, and Harry, 36, officially stepped down in March, with many terms put in place by Queen Elizabeth II regarding their royal transition.
"There really isn't going to be a sort of formal sit-down in March. That was never the plan. Yes, there was always going to be a year probation, but this has been a year in the works," Nicholl explains. "This is a year where Harry has communicated on a regular basis with his grandmother. The general feeling is that the couple are sticking to the terms of the agreement."
"Everything that they are doing is very much in keeping with that tone of respect towards the establishment and the monarchy. So this idea that there's going to be a big formal sit-down to discuss the future is really a fabrication, I think, of the press," she notes, adding that "discussion have been ongoing ever since they left the royal family."
Harry, meanwhile, is still in close contact with his grandmother and the two talk on a regular basis, Nicholl adds. However, she states that "the matter over Harry's military titles is one of the few issues that remain outstanding, that does need to be tidied up."
"In terms of their portfolio of patronages and charities, as far as the couple is concerned, they plan to continue working with those patronages and charities as they have been over the past year," Nicholl explains. "So when issues arise, they will be dealt with."
As far as how the future looks for the couple, it appears as if they have "put their roots down" in Los Angeles and won't be returning to their royal roles. The couple has done well for themselves after their "Megxit," thanks to their multimillion-dollar deal with Netflix and various other business ventures. They also bought a $14 million Montecito mansion, paid for their own security and paid back British taxpayers for the renovations on Frogmore Cottage.
"I think that the past year has shown that they have put their roots down in L.A., they are building a business model, America is their new home, and Netflix, Spotify, the deals that they have done are their financial future," Nicholl shares. "The suggestion that they are going to go back to the royal family simply isn't going to happen."
As far as having any regrets for making such a dramatic and unprecedented move, Nicholl believes, "Harry has wanted a way out for quite a long time."
"Don't forget this is a prince who was born a spare, who has always had to play second fiddle to his brother [Prince William]. I think Megan was a catalyst for a new life for him. She really gave him the confidence to say, 'OK, there is another way,'" she says. "I don't think it's any secret that for a long time when they were here in Britain they were not happy…So what might have seemed daunting, terrifying, even a year ago because this has, make no mistake, been a leap of faith, I think now it looks like a very exciting adventure for the couple. I don't think there are any regrets…They are excited about this year, they're very excited about this chapter in their lives, they are loving their new lives in L.A. and they are very happy."
While the two may have moved on from life as royals, they do hope to return to see Harry's family in 2021, "COVID permitting." The royal family hopes to be able to gather in June for the Trooping the Colour celebrations. Prince Philip will also be celebrating a milestone birthday, turning 100, in June.
" will also mark the Duke of Edinburgh's 100th birthday, which is set to be a very big celebration over here in the U.K.," Nicholl shares. "I know that Harry, he's very close to both of his grandparents, wouldn't want to miss an occasion like that."
"There is, of course, the unveiling of the [Princess] Diana statue in the summer, so Harry will absolutely want to be in the U.K. for that," she adds. "So I think the plan is that he will be here, possibly here for an extended summer. But of course, all of these plans are subject to change because of the COVID-19 situation. No one knows whether they are actually going to be able to travel."
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