A Return to Royal Life for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Is "Dead in the Water," Royal Sources Say

Royal sources say that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle couldn't return to the royal family now, given the commercial deals they have signed since the royal exit.

  • Even though they're still finishing out the one-year "trial" period of their royal exit, royal sources say Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's future with the royal family has already been decided.
  • Royal insiders told the Daily Mail that each of the Sussexes' commercial deals have been a "nail in the coffin of any kind of return to royal life." 
  • "The Queen knows you can't have a working member of the Royal Family also being paid millions of pounds by Spotify to tell people to 'swipe and follow' their podcast, or encouraging consumers to buy a certain brand of coffee. The two are simply incompatible," one source explained.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (opens in new tab) might still *technically* be on the first "trial year" of their royal exit, but insiders say the Sussexes' split from the royal family (opens in new tab) is very much a permanent thing, in spite of reports that they're seeking an extension (opens in new tab) to their original deal with the Palace.

When Harry and Meghan (opens in new tab) first decided to step back from their roles as full-time working royals, speculation circulated that they wanted to find a way to continue representing the royal family in a part-time capacity and to "support the Queen" (opens in new tab) from abroad even as they pursued other projects. According to a report from the Daily Mail (opens in new tab), however, the Queen never entertained this as a possibility. 

"It just goes to underline the Queen's judgment. You simply can't do both roles without conflict. And contrary to speculation, it was actually a pretty straightforward decision on Her Majesty's behalf," a royal source explained. "The Queen knows you can't have a working member of the Royal Family also being paid millions of pounds by Spotify to tell people to 'swipe and follow' their podcast, or encouraging consumers to buy a certain brand of coffee. The two are simply incompatible."

And now that Meghan and Harry have secured several outside deals (opens in new tab), including their podcast deal with Spotify and their development deal with Netflix, the chances of their backtracking and returning to work as full-time royals is basically zero—"dead in the water," actually.

"It's solely down to the choices they have made," a source explained. "There is no anger or animosity [on behalf of the Royal Family]. But every commercial deal that has been done by the Sussexes has been a nail in the coffin of any kind of return to royal life.

Another royal source added, "To come back would mean they would have to undo all the commercial tie-ups they have already done, and clearly Harry and Meghan don't want to do that. That is absolutely their choice and the Queen has agreed they can pursue these new careers. But to cap it all, they have bought a house 6,000 miles away, which is an unmistakable statement of intent on their behalf."

If these sources are correct, it sounds like the Sussexes' royal exit (opens in new tab) is definitely permanent.

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Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional experience. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.