Megxit announcement 'cold and calculated', says expert

The dust is just beginning to settle following Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s bombshell news that they will be stepping down as “senior” members of the royal family.

The couple made the shock revelation both on their new website and on Instagram, explaining how they would be splitting their time between the UK and North America and intend to become “financially independent”, raising questions as to what - if anything - taxpayers will be contributing to.

Harry and Meghan have announced they are stepping back as senior royals. Photo: Getty Images

While there has been much speculation about what the move will mean for the couple and the impact it will have on the royal family, experts believe some clues can be sought from the language used and timing of the announcement itself.

Popular culture expert, Nick Ede, found the tone of the revelation quite cold and matter of fact.

“I think that not giving much indication of the reasoning and not referencing prince Charles or William in any family way rather coldly speaking about royal responsibility it makes this all look very calculated,” he explains.

“To say they have been thinking of this for two years basically means from the day they got married this was their intention.”

Anthony Burr, who runs PR consultancy Burr Media agrees that the tone was to the point.

“The statement from the Sussexes is as bold as it gets,” he says.

“They want ‘out’ and the language they have used paints that picture for us in no uncertain terms.”

Emma Serlin from London Speech Workshop believes that the message was very clever and well thought out. 

“This message is well written, careful and very clear,” she explains. “Firstly there is no apology whatsoever. Every phrase near the start of a sentence is considered and creates a firm message using verbs which are final  eg. 'chosen', 'we intend'. It's not 'we are thinking about' or 'we're considering'.”

Serlin believes the couple will have chosen their words and tone carefully to strike a balance between outlining their intentions, while being respectful.

“The language is very non-aggressive and positive and about a 'progressive new role' and nothing about 'we are struggling with negative attention' or anything like that,” she explains.

But could a little bit of insincerity have crept into the statement? Burr believes so.

“The statement did read: ‘we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties,’” he explains.

“But according to media coverage, Her Majesty The Queen, the Prince of Wales and even his brother, the Duke of Cambridge have been blindsided by the announcement.”

Serlin agreed that there was something of a contradiction between the respectful language used and the lack of information provided to the royal family in advance.

“The tone is incredibly respectful of the royal family even though not telling them their plans - as apparently is the case - is not that respectful in reality - as it would not be in any family.”

What does the language and tone of the announcement reveal? Photo: Getty Images

But she has a theory about why the couple decided to do this.

“I suspect that it was done strategically so that Harry didn't become embroiled in political and emotional negotiations with other members of the royal family or their internal bureaucracy to deviate from their chosen path. As might happen within any other family too.” 

For Burr signs of a potential split from royal protocol have always lingered.

“The couple set up their own Instagram account, used different media advisors and even broke off from William and Kate's charity with their new charitable foundation, which they mention with ‘the launch of our new charitable entity’,” he says.  

“Harry has always seen himself as a royal with a licence to do things his way and his partnership with Meghan has now compounded this further,” he continues.

“With her influence and the closeness of their young nuclear family, they are determined to move away from the ‘institution’ of the royal family as they see themselves as more ‘progressive’ – two key words used in the very first sentence.” 

Serlin agrees that Meghan’s influence can be seen within the announcement itself.

“I sense that Meghan has been hugely influential in this and the tone of setting the scene where the chance for negotiation has gone is very 'American'.

“She has clearly made her view known that they can build the life they want for themselves - especially now that they have a child and probably want more children, while trying to remain respectful of the deeply embedded respect for the Royal Family.”

Words by Yahoo Style UK team

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