Queen Elizabeth: What does her passing mean for Meghan and Harry?

Click to play video: 'Queen Elizabeth death: Princes William and Harry greet well-wishers outside Windsor Castle'
Queen Elizabeth death: Princes William and Harry greet well-wishers outside Windsor Castle
WATCH: Princes William and Harry greet well-wishers outside Windsor Castle – Sep 10, 2022

Queen Elizabeth II passed away on Thursday, Sept. 8, setting into motion a series of changes expected in the days to come. A new monarch has been named, her son, King Charles III, who now sits on the British throne.

The queen’s grandson, Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton have also received new titles — Prince and Princess of Wales.

But what about Harry and Meghan? Her younger grandson and his wife?

Click to play video: 'Reaction from London: a conversation with a U.K. resident on the passing of Queen Elizabeth II'
Reaction from London: a conversation with a U.K. resident on the passing of Queen Elizabeth II

The Duke of Sussex, 37, and his wife, former television actor Meghan Markle, have had a rocky relationship with the monarchy, that started shortly after their highly publicized wedding at the Windsor Castle. In 2020, two years into their marriage, they announced they would no longer be working members of the royal family after tensions with the institution and bombardment from the British Press.

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However, a couple of days after the death of the queen, the pair joined Harry’s brother Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton on a walkabout among mourners. It was only a coincidence that Harry was in the U.K. when the queen passed. Prior to her demise, no plans were announced for Harry to visit with his family.

Britain’s Prince William and Kate, Princess of Wales, left, and Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex walk to greet the crowds after viewing the floral tributes for the late Queen Elizabeth II outside Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022. Alberto Pezzali / The Associated Press

Their public appearance together has raised prospects of a rapprochement between the brothers though the two couples did not interact much during the 40 minute walkabout.

A source described the joint appearance as an important show of unity at an incredibly difficult time for the family. They emerged from the same car, all wearing black.

But this is not the first time they made an appearance together following the much publicized drift in 2020. The brothers and their wives had also attended the queen’s Platinum Jubilee this year, when the monarch marked 70 years on the throne.

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Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the National Service of Thanksgiving held at St Paul’s Cathedral as part of celebrations marking the Platinum Jubilee of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, in London, Friday, June 3, 2022. (Aaron Chown/Pool photo via AP)

Royal observers had been looking for signs of a detente in the midst of pomp, ceremony, a period of national mourning and the queen’s state funeral.

The brothers were known to be close for many years after their mother, Princess Diana, died in a car accident in Paris in 1997.

File photo dated 15/6/2010 of Prince Harry and Prince William pose with a rock python during a visit to the Mokolodi Nature Reserve in Gabarone, Botswana. The Canadian Press

Will Harry, Meghan have new titles?

For now, it appears the couple’s role will stay the way they have been for the past few years — distant from royal duties.

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Under royal rules, the monarch’s grandchildren are automatically eligible to become princes or princesses of the realm. Now that Harry’s father Charles is King, his children, Archie, 3, and Lilibet, 1, can receive those titles. Lilibet was named after the queen’s childhood nickname.

Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, holding their son Archie, meet Archbishop Desmond Tutu (not pictured) at the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation in Cape Town, South Africa, September 25, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville/Pool

However, it is not clear whether they will take the titles.

In 2020, when Meghan and Harry stepped back from the Royal Family institution, it was agreed they would no longer be able to formally carry out “official duties” for the queen or represent the commonwealth, according to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s website.

A year after the split, Harry and Meghan also confirmed they will not return as working members of the monarchy.

Click to play video: 'Charles III officially becomes King – what happens next?'
Charles III officially becomes King – what happens next?

What went wrong?

After stepping away from their royal duties, the couple sat down for a TV interview with Oprah Winfrey to talk about their experiences as part of the royal family.

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According to Harry, the two stepped away after asking for help. He said they did not receive any, despite “a constant barrage” from the British press.

“It was a lack of support, a lack of understanding,” he cited as the main reason for them leaving. “I had to take matters into my own hands.”

Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, arrive at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum for the Salute to Freedom Gala Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021, in New York. The Duke of Sussex will also present the inaugural Intrepid Valour Award to five service members, veterans and their military families. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

During the interview, titled Oprah with Meghan and Harry, the queen’s grandson said he and his brother were on “different paths.”

“We’ve been through hell together, but we’re on different paths. The relationship is ‘space’ at the moment,” said Harry. “Time heals all things, hopefully.”

The interview also included allegations of “the firm’s” racism and Meghan saying she had been pushed to the brink of suicide.

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She also said she was told by a senior official of the household that it “wouldn’t be good for the institution” for her to seek help.

“Concerns and conversations” were also had among the royal family over the colour of Meghan and Harry’s child’s, while Meghan was pregnant, she said. “It’s been unbelievably tough for the two of us,” said Harry.

Princess Diana, also spoke of her mental health struggles while being part of the monarchy. She said her bulimia was a sign she was “crying out for help,” though “the firm” dismissed her as “unstable.”

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, right, and Diana, Princess of Wales, smile to well-wishers outside Clarence House in London, in this Aug. 4, 1987 file photo. The Queen celebrates her 80th birthday on April 21, 2006. (AP Photo/Martin Cleaver)

Not the first time

This is not the first time a member of the royal family has denounced their duties.

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Queen Elizabeth II’s uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated his crown in 1936 to marry American Wallis Simpson, who was twice-divorced, less than a year after he acceded to the throne.

King Edward VIII, of England, with Wallis Simpson, 1936. The Canadian Press

At the time, the Church of England prohibited the monarch from marry someone who had been divorced.

The rest of his life with Wallis was spent in exile, involving little contact with other royals.

The title Duke of Windsor, previously bestowed on Edward was no longer conferred after the scandal to avoid negative association.

Relationship with Queen Elizabeth II

However, despite the controversy, Harry spoke highly of his relationship with the queen during the interview with Winfrey.

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“My grandmother and I have a very good relationship,” he said.

Meghan said she loved being in the queen’s company.

“The Queen has always been wonderful to me,” she said.

In this Tuesday, July 10, 2018 file photo Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, and Meghan the Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry watch a flypast of Royal Air Force aircraft pass over Buckingham Palace in London. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

King Charles III, in his first address to the nation as King, expressed his love for Harry and Meghan.

“I want to express my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas,” he said in his speech on Friday.

Since the queen’s death, Meghan cancelled several planned appearances in New York.

Archewell, an organization founded by Harry and Meghan in 2020, also changed their website to honour mourning the queen.

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“In loving memory of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” the website wrote in a white font on a black background.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry leave the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021. Seth Wenig / The Associated Press

She and Harry are expected to remain in the UK until the funeral, which will be held on Sept. 19.

— With files from Global News’ Chris Jancelewicz & Reuters

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