Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Exit as Working Members of the Royal Family Will Shift Most of the Work to the Princess of Wales, Expert Says

Kate “will end up paying the price for much of this tumult.”

Kate Middleton
(Image credit: Getty)

The royal family isn’t just a family, as we all well know—it’s a well-oiled business operation, with that side of the family typically referred to as “the Firm.” And just like in any other business, when two “employees” leave—in this case, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle—the work doesn’t just disappear. It gets reshuffled to other employees, and, report multiple outlets, the one who will carry the lion’s share of that extra work is the Princess of Wales.

Royal expert Daniela Elser says that, even through scrutiny, Harry and Meghan fulfilled their duties and attended engagements when they were working members of the royal family, and that workload will now primarily shift to Kate.

“The loss of the Sussexes from the royal fold dealt the royal family not only a serious reputational blow but a hands-on one too,” she says, per OK. “The remaining HRHs are going to be stretched ever thinner.”

Beyond losing Harry and Meghan, the Firm also lost Prince Andrew, who too was a full-time working royal before his sexual assault scandal cost him his job. And, though King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla are in charge, Prince William and Kate are the only senior working members of the royal family under the age of 50, and they represent a demographic the monarchy is desperate to keep interested and engaged. Because of Kate’s popularity, Elser says, “there is one person in particular who will end up paying the price for much of this tumult and change: Kate, the now Princess of Wales."

Elser says Charles and Camilla only have “about a decade” before they leave behind international tours, according to The Daily Express, shifting even more responsibility to the Prince and Princess of Wales.

Kate is a person who Her late Majesty believed would succeed, as royal expert Joe Little shared in an interview last year: “The Queen very much regarded Catherine as…a safe pair of hands. She’s been a member of the royal family for 10 years now. I think given all that’s going on in the past few years in the royal family in terms of the fallouts…the Queen has great trust in Kate.”

All of this said, could Harry and Meghan make a return as working members of the royal family, either in a full-time or (more likely) part-time capacity? The late Queen said no to the latter, but perhaps the new King will be more open to the idea.

“That [allowing their return] was something that Queen Elizabeth absolutely said couldn’t happen, but I think Meghan and Harry are hoping that Charles, Harry’s father, after all, will be more of a modernizer and will say to them ‘okay, if you want to be part-time royals, that’s fine,'" royal author Tom Quinn said on the “To Di for Daily” podcast earlier this year.

Charles has yet to make a statement about the potential possibility of a Sussex return.

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.