All your burning Meghan and Harry questions, answered

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex depart Canada House on January 07, 2020 in London, England.

(CNN)2020 brought us Brexit. And now, the exit of the royal family's two biggest stars (aside from the Queen, obviously).

Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, announced late Wednesday that they would be stepping back from their roles as senior members of the British royal family and begin working towards financial independence.
The news, which the couple broke in a post on Instagram, came as a surprise to both the royal family itself -- they did not consult any other royals about their decision -- and the wider public, who swiftly began speculating about what was next for the pair.
From whether Meghan might star in a future season of popular Netflix series "The Crown," to how Harry might get a job without a proper last name, CNN's Max Foster has answered all your most burning questions.

    Why now?

    The decision comes upon the couple's return from a six-week family break in Canada and UK. But this is something has been building for years since Harry's childhood; brought up under the glare of publicity, the young prince saw his mother, Princess Diana, suffer at the hands of the paparazzi.
    Harry said previously he didn't think he'd be able to meet someone who could put up with the pressure, and, ultimately, Meghan has found it unbearable.
    The birth of their son, Archie, last spring, gave new impetus to their departure from the spotlight. In fact, Archie's naming hinted at the move -- they decided not to give him an official title, presumably to allow him a right to a private life.

    Will they lose their titles?

    Prince Harry and Meghan suggest on their new Sussex Royal website that they will be able to keep their titles, citing historic precedent.
    Other members of the royal family -- like Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie -- hold titles and also have jobs.

    What's their last name?

    That's a gray area for senior royals, but we can assume they will take Mountbatten-Windsor, as that's what they gave Archie as his surname.

    Would the Queen have had to sign this off?

    Moves as significant as this typically require approval from Queen Elizabeth, the head of family and state. But the couple did not consult the Queen ahead of the decision.
    When you consider the royal family is essentially a firm, it seems unprecedented that they would not have spoken to "the boss" -- especially as they are effectively demanding new roles, not walking out.
    There is said to be a mood of deep disappointment in the palace following the announcement; senior members of the family are hurt as a result of the news.

    Why wouldn't Harry and Meghan consult the royal family?

    Last year, an ITV documentary chronicling the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's royal tour in southern Africa confirmed what many had suspected for quite some time: a rift within the royal family.
    Asked about media speculation of an estrangement with his older brother, William, Harry said the pair were "on different paths." Given those tensions, it may not be entirely surprising that the couple didn't consult the rest of the family.

    Do they pay taxes?

    The Duke and Duchess do not have any tax privileges. But, because they don't have private incomes at the moment and largely live off public and family expenses, they have not had to pay any tax.