With ‘Megxit,’ Harry and Meghan aim to control media image

LONDON (AP) - The relationship between Britain’s royals and the media is awkward, mistrustful — and seemingly inescapable. But now Meghan and Harry want out.

After years of growing tension with the press, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have announced plans to quit senior royal duties, move part-time to North America, seek financial independence and withdraw from regular media scrutiny.

British media have proclaimed their statement as “a declaration of independence.”

British newspapers were stung by the snub, with articles, columns and editorials that ranged from disappointment to fury. They accused Meghan and Harry of petulance, selfishness and disrespect for royal matriarch Queen Elizabeth II.

Following Meghan and Harry’s decision, London’s famed Madame Tussauds museum announced it had moved the waxworks of the couple out of the royal section.

According to sources, the queen asked her grandson to not issue any statements about his family’s future plans.

But Wednesday, the couple used social media to broadcast changes to their royal status.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex say in the future they will connect with the public through “grassroots media organizations and young, up-and-coming journalists” rather than the traditional media.

The royal couple have been popular at home and abroad, but they have stressed by the constant scrutiny of the British press, especially the British tabloids.

Britain’s royal family is scrambling to contain the fallout from the surprise announcement.

Harry and Meghan say they plan to split their time between the United Kingdom and and North America.

They also want to become financially independent.

Helping them in their quest: a trademark. The couple was granted one for their brand “Sussex Royal” by the UK’s Intellectual Property Office in December, CNN reported.

The royal rift dominated Britain’s media Thursday.

Reports said that Queen Elizabeth II had not been informed of the decision. The Sun and the New York Post described the departure as “Megxit,” a play on Brexit.

Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved. CNN and Gray Media Group, Inc., contributed to this report.