U.K. citizens are up in arms about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle‘s shocking announcement that they will take a backseat from their “senior member” status of the royal family to work independently. But instead of wanting the couple to keep the current structure the same, many are calling on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to relinquish their titles entirely.
Norman Baker, a former Liberal Democrat member of parliament and home office minister in the coalition government, sounded off on the couple’s 2020 plans to partially support the queen while simultaneously having financial independence.
“You can’t be one foot in, one foot out,” Baker said, according to the DailyMail.
“You are either a member of the royal family or you are not,” the former minister added.
While the couple shed light on how their new approach will affect their finances moving forward on their official website, taxpayers and parliament members are outraged that their dollars will continue to benefit Harry and Meghan.
“[Prince Harry] should give the money back spent on Frogmore Cottage and pay himself for the jets between the UK and America. And pay for his security,” Baker continued (via DailyMail).
The former minister added that it would be sensible for Harry to completely ditch his royal status and “become a private citizen.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex claimed on their website that they will continue to pay for their own private travel, as was already the plan in place. However, Baker stressed that doesn’t mean taxpayers will stop paying for the couple’s security, which according to gov.uk, is not a subject they can publicly disclose.
“No breakdown of security costs is available as disclosure of such information could compromise the integrity of these arrangements and affect the security of the individuals protected. It is long established policy not to comment upon the protective security arrangements and their related costs for members of the Royal Family or their residences,” the UK government site explains.
Harry and Meghan’s official website breaks down how this title shift would impact their current U.K. home at Frogmore Cottage. According to the site, the couple plans to still use the Frogmore Cottage while they split their time between the UK and North America.
The cottage was a gift from the queen, but the couple’s website states they were on the hook for expenses covering its furnishings, fittings, and fixtures.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex thoroughly explained on their site that they have given up the five percent of the income they receive from the Sovereign Grant. But DailyMail claims it is believed the couple will still pocket the remaining 95 percent of the couple’s funding, which is allocated by the Prince of Wales and generated through his estate, the Duchy of Cornwall.
If that is the case, one member of parliament claimed that Harry and Meghan appear to want to “have their cake and eat it,” the British outlet reported.
In order to play fair, members of parliament claimed that the new structure is concerning.
“If they want to have financial independence, no one would quibble with that. But the announcement they made was really sketchy,” an unnamed member told the outlet.
Shortly after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex made their bombshell announcement, Buckingham Palace released a hasty statement implying that Harry and Meghan weren’t transparent about their decision.
“Discussions with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage,” a Palace spokesman told Fox News late Wednesday. “We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.”
Labour MP Margaret Hodge told the DailyMail that there is a need for “greater transparency” regarding the royals’ finances.
Meanwhile, Graham Smith, chief executive of anti-monarchy group Republic, claimed Harry and Meghan’s partial status is a sign their titles should be all or nothing.
“They can’t have it both ways – keeping the perks but not wanting to stay and do the work,” he told the outlet.
Republic followed up with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s shocking announcement with a tweet.
“#Harrymeghan would have had more sympathy, and our full support, if they had renounced their titles, immediately given up any claim to public funding and said they wanted to live private lives in North America,” the group wrote.
Last year, Meghan made headlines after a royal expert called her “extravagant” for her lavish lifestyle. The British public was reportedly shocked to find out that Harry’s wife’s baby shower was estimated at $379,000 in addition to a $3.8 million home renovation that took place in 2018.
Meghan also came under fire for the $71,000 dress she wore in the couple’s engagement photos.
The contribution from UK taxpayers toward the entire British monarchy comes to approximately “£1 per head per year,” Harry and Meghan informed their website readers.
Taxpayers took to social media to slam Meghan and Harry following their announcement, claiming it’s time their money goes elsewhere.
“I think their plans for independent living hinge on them being able to monetise their titles,” one Twitter user wrote on Thursday.
“Go have a wonderful free life in Canada and get booed when you come back to good old blighty? You can’t have your cake and eat it,” another wrote.
“This isn’t stepping back, it’s stepping forward. With greed and enormous egos it’s all about them,” a separate person tweeted.