Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s new life began Monday as they bid farewell to their Sussexroyal Instagram account and its 11 million followers and promised to reconnect soon.
After Tuesday, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will no longer will allowed to use the word “royal” in connection with their commercial and charitable activities, under the terms of their agreement with his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, over their decision to step down as senior working royals to move to North America and become financially independent.
It is not clear what will replace Sussexroyal or when, but it seems certain something will, judging from what they posted.
“While you may not see us here, the work continues,” they said in their last post on the site. “Thank you to this community – for the support, the inspiration and the shared commitment to the good in the world. We look forward to reconnecting with you soon. You’ve been great!”
The couple also referenced the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe.
“What’s most important right now is the health and wellbeing of everyone across the globe and finding solutions for the many issues that have presented themselves as a result of this pandemic,” their post read. “As we all find the part we are to play in this global shift and changing of habits, we are focusing this new chapter to understand how we can best contribute.”
The Sussexroyal IG account was launched in April 2019, and within days it had millions of followers, breaking the then-record for the fastest time to gain 1 million followers.
By the beginning of 2020, it was nearly the only way the couple spoke publicly to the media and to the public. It was the place where they first posted the shocking news that they were stepping back from royal life.
Also on Monday, the couple announced their new head of staff will be Catherine St-Laurent, a former spokeswoman for Melinda Gates at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She also formerly worked at Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company created by Melinda Gates.
St-Laurent will also serve as executive director of the Sussexes’ future non-profit organization, details of which they have not yet announced.
“We are proud to be joined by Catherine St-Laurent in this next chapter with us,” the couple said in a statement emailed to USA TODAY. “Her leadership and proven track record working within two organizations that have tremendous impact in the world – the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Pivotal Ventures – make her an incredible asset and we are excited to have her on our team.”
St-Laurent released a statement expressing delight.
“From our very first conversation, Harry and Meghan have expressed a deep commitment to improving lives and having a positive impact on society. Their perspective on the role that empathy, connection and compassion can play in that mission is both deeply personal and incredibly timely.
“I am delighted and honored to be able to play a role in realizing their vision as they embark on this journey of learning, listening and inspiring all of us to act.”
It is not clear where Harry and Meghan are currently residing. They had been living with their son, Archie, who turns 1 in May, in a borrowed mansion on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, since Thanksgiving.
They carried out their last official engagements as royals in London earlier this month, then returned to Canada.
Canada later announced it will no longer pay to provide security protection for them because they are no longer working royals. In addition, Canada and the United States closed their 4,000-mile border to all but essential traffic because of the coronavirus crisis.
On Sunday, President Donald Trump made clear Americans will not pay for their security if they are in the U.S.
“It was reported that Harry and Meghan, who left the (U.K.), would reside permanently in Canada. Now they have left Canada for the U.S. however, the U.S. will not pay for their security protection. They must pay!” Trump tweeted.
Trump was referring to reports in People magazine, The Sun and elsewhere that the Sussexes left Canada on a private plane before the border closed and are now living in Los Angeles, Meghan’s home town.
Some of the couple’s expenses, as they explained on their website, have been covered in part by private income from Harry’s father, Prince Charles, and his Duchy of Cornwall. That is expected to continue.
It remains to be seen what commercial deals Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, may now embark on, but she has already carried out one job: The former actress’ voice will appear as the narrator on the Disney+ nature film “Elephant” in exchange for a donation to the conservation charity Elephants Without Borders, according to Variety and The Guardian.