Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, might want to “step back” from royal duties, but UK newspaper front pages on Thursday reveal that the couple are still squarely in the public’s gaze.
The couple said Wednesday they will leave their “senior” roles in the British royal family, aiming “to become financially independent” and “carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” according to a statement posted on Instagram.
The UK press splashed the story across their front pages Thursday, with the shock announcement garnering blanket coverage.
Aside from UK general election coverage, it is incredibly rare for one story to get front page headlines across the media spectrum.
It’s even more remarkable during a week of high profile international news, such as the ongoing tensions between the United States and Iran and a plane crash that killed 176 people near Tehran on Wednesday.
The Sun dubbed the announcement “Megxit,” plastering the portmanteau across the front page and calling the announcement a “palace bombshell” that had started a “civil war.”
The Daily Express went with “Queen’s dismay as Harry and Meghan step back from royal life,” hinting at a brewing conflict in the family.
This was also evoked by The Times, whose headline read: “Harry and Meghan quit roles amid palace split.”
And the monarch’s reaction was stronger according to The Daily Mail, which wrote: “Queen’s fury as Harry and Meghan say: We quit.”
Free daily paper Metro had a simple “Harry and Meghan: we quit” headline in the same vein as the i paper, which went with “Prince quits.”
Even The Guardian, less likely to focus on royal stories, had “Harry and Meghan to ‘step back as senior royals.’”
The Duke and Duchess have a fraught relationship with sections of the British media.
In October last year, the couple announced that Meghan was suing the Mail on Sunday newspaper, alleging it had illegally published a private letter to her father — a claim the newspaper denies.
At the same time, Harry launched an emotional attack on the UK tabloid press for what he called a “ruthless campaign” against his wife.
He likened their treatment of her to that faced by his mother. Princess Diana died in 1997 when her car crashed as it was being pursued by members of the paparazzi.