During an emotional interview in October 2019, the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, fought back tears, and indicated that she was not okay with handling the constant attention and pressure from the British media. A few months later, the world found out how she seemingly planned to deal with that. In a stunning announcement on Jan. 8, 2020, Meghan and Harry dropped this bombshell:
« After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution, » they wrote on their official Instagram. « We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen. »
Another shocking development? They apparently didn’t give Queen Elizabeth a heads up. « BBC Understands that no other member of the Royal Family was consulted before Harry and Meghan issued their personal statement tonight, the Palace is understood to be ‘disappointed' » BBC News’ Royal Correspondent Jonny Dymond tweeted. The queen responded to the news a few hours later, and let’s just say, well … you be the judge: « Discussions with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage. We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through, » an official statement from Buckingham Palace read.
Naturally, celebrities had some takes. Here are a few.
Piers Morgan: ‘What a disgrace’
Piers Morgan, who has been an outspoken critic of Meghan Markle for some reason, completely melted down over the news that she and Prince Harry plan to step down from the royal family. « Wow. What a disgraceful way to treat The Queen, » he tweeted. « Shame on Harry & Meghan. »
In another tweet, Morgan admitted to his history of criticizing Markle, and he used this to explain why it is justified. « People say I’m too critical of Meghan Markle — but she ditched her family, ditched her Dad, ditched most of her old friends, split Harry from William & has now split him from the Royal Family, » he wrote. « I rest my case. » Wait, was there a trial that we missed?
Bette Midler: ‘They got away!’
Hollywood icon and legendary Twitter troll Bette Midler took a jab at the British press — and Piers Morgan. You love to see it. « UK tabloids are having fits that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have taken a « step back » and escaped their clutches, » the two-time Oscar nominee tweeted, adding, « Chief among the furious are pundits for climate change denier Rupert Murdoch’s papers, the vile #DailyMail, & #PiersMorgan. Tough s**t, kids!! They got away!! »
Rosanna Arquette: ‘I applaud Meghan and Harry’
Actress and women’s rights activist Rosanna Arquette, congratulated Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on their decision to step back and focus on humanitarian work. « Though there are many serious events to pay attention to I applaud Meghan and Harry for stepping back from Royal duties they will be doing great humanitarian work in the world and they are educated and fully capable of making their own livings this move is integrity driven, » she tweeted.
Anita Asante shouted down the haters
English footballer and Chelsea’s Anita Asante wonders why the news about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex altering their role in the royal family is getting more coverage than a certain other member of the family’s friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. « I don’t care…I don’t care…ppl coming for Prince Harry and Meghan should be movin (sic) with that same energy for Prince Andrew’s scandal…how his situation blew over so quickly I will never understand. #Megxit, » she tweeted. Hard to argue there.
However, former royal spokesman Dickie Arbiter told Good Morning Britain that the queen is « probably more angry » at Meghan and Harry than Prince Andrew. Yikes.
David Alan Grier kept is short and sweet
Comedian and actor David Alan Grier tweeted out a New York Post article that called Meghan Markle and Prince Harry « smug and gross » and accused them of « hypocrisy » for quitting their jobs while still living off dear old grandma. His caption? « Harry n Meghan said F**K ALL YA’ll HO’S! #GitAGrip, » he tweeted.
In response to another commenter who declared, « Meghan’s the captain, » the In Living Color alum affirmed, « Damn sho is! » Can a girl get two snaps?
Colin Quinn had jokes
Comedian Colin Quinn gave a hilarious warning to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. « I think Prince Harry and Meghan are wrong, » he tweeted. « Ask Brian Dunkelman [sic] he went off American Idol and today he said he regrets it. Look before you leap that’s my motto. » Well, when you put it that way, it makes sense.
Amy Schumer also had jokes
Amy Schumer, who previously photoshopped her and her husband Chris Fischer’s faces onto Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s bodies for her pregnancy announcement, brought the jokes to Instagram.
« Chris and I are formally stepping down from our royal duties, » the comedian captioned a pic of her and Fischer at the beach. « We appreciate your support. »
Prince Charles and Prince William are filled with ‘rage’
Much like his grandmother, Prince Harry’s father and brother supposedly aren’t taking the news well either. According to the report in The Sun, a source close to the family says that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s statement « is a declaration of war on the family. »
How do Harry’s father and brother, the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge, feel about this? The source claims they « are incandescent with rage. » That doesn’t sound good. « There are so many unanswered questions but they’ve just up and done it without a thought for anyone else, » the source added. « The plan was there to discuss it and work out a way that works for everyone in the family. »
Thomas Markle: ‘I’m disappointed’
Meghan Markle has a long history with her estranged family, but nobody gets under her skin like her father, Thomas Markle. While giving several very negative and public interviews, Thomas left his Meghan reportedly « upset and disturbed, » according to Us Weekly, after being caught staging photos with the paparazzi prior to her wedding.
After a dramatic and tabloid-feeding will he or won’t he period, Thomas ultimately did not attend Meghan and Harry’s wedding. He also told the Daily Mail in August 2019 that he had yet to meet his then nearly four month old grandson. Meghan and her father simply do not get along, so naturally, he opened up to the tabloids, yet again, about her and Harry’s internet-breaking decision.
« I’ll just simply say I’m disappointed, » he told Us Weekly. We’re confident the feeling’s mutual.