Prince Harry and Meghan: How they want to do their own thing

Jonny Dymond
Royal correspondent
@JonnyDymondon Twitter

media captionFive things Harry and Meghan did differently

There is the personal statement, in which the Duke and Duchess of Sussex explain their thinking behind stepping back from royal life.

There is the beautifully produced website where the couple go into more detail about how they think the future will pan out.

And beyond that there are questions, questions, questions and more questions.

It doesn't take long for some pretty obvious contradictions to emerge. Three times in their statement the couple say how much they look forward to serving the Queen.

But the Queen was not given a chance to see their plans, let alone agree to them.

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The couple write on their website that they want to keep some royal duties (and presumably the royal titles that go along with those).

But they also make clear, in some detail, that they are not prepared to go along with the agreed way that the media reports on royal activities.

Harry and Meghan seek to establish a separate organisation that will at times work with the palace, but they appear not to have spoken to anyone there about how this will work.

They seek financial independence through earning a professional income. But nowhere do they acknowledge the risk of being accused of monetizing the royal brand.

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They want to establish a separate court that runs on their rules; but they believe they can remain members of the British monarchy, an organisation with a firmly fixed set of its own rules.

The talk in some quarters is that the Sussexes' hand was forced by the impressive scoop of the Sun newspaper on Wednesday.

If that's the case - and the couple's media strategy is certainly unconventional - it goes some way to explaining why there are many more questions than there are answers.

But how did they get here?

Those who have always had it in for Meghan put it down to her. But that's a long way from the truth.

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Harry's royal path has always been hard.

There was the long shadow of his mother's early death, the media spotlight on his youthful mistakes and the extraordinary interest that his relationships and then his marriage sparked.

Unlike his older brother Prince William, Harry has never grown used to media, and still visibly bridles at the cameras and the questions. And he is obviously - visibly - bored by the ceremonial side of the job.

In short, he has long wanted out. And together with the woman he loves he now thinks he has found a way. But the manner of his leaving - their leaving - is breathtaking.

The palace rarely speaks at all about how members of the Royal Family feel about things.

But a source told the BBC within hours of the announcement that senior members of the family were "hurt" - both the content of the statement and the way it was released, has cut very deep.

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And it will set off alarm bells about how the court of Harry and Meghan might operate in the future.

If they release a statement of such import in the manner that they have when they are still under the umbrellas of the palace how will they act when they are thousands of miles away and far from the eyes of staff and family?

The palace today is busy trying to work out how this new role might work. But they are well aware of the challenge and complexity, in particular over the issue of money.

The truth is, it may not be possible to marry the palace's need for a degree of control with the duke and duchess' desire to do their own thing.

A deeper and more formal split between the couple and the family may yet emerge.

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