Sandringham visitors give mixed reaction as Harry and Meghan plan to step back

By Sam Russell, PA

Visitors to the Queen’s Sandringham Estate in Norfolk gave a mixed reaction to news that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex intend to step back as senior members of the royal family.

While some expressed sadness at the couple’s decision, others said it could be a positive move for the young family.

One said Harry and Meghan must not trade off their royal status and should repay public money spent on Frogmore Cottage, their home on the Windsor Estate.

Taxpayers paid £2.4 million to renovate the Grade-2 listed building, which the couple moved into just nine months ago.

Debra Burgess-Lim, 59, from King’s Lynn near Sandringham, said she hopes the decision will not be permanent.

She added: “He’s a great asset and everyone really loves him. It’s really sad that he feels he has to do that.

“I hope they just take it as time goes on because his brother (the Duke of Cambridge) will need support going forward once he becomes king.”

Her daughter Maisy Lim, 24, said: “I think it’s just a shame. It will be different.”

But Steve Reeves, 63, of nearby North Wootton, said it could be a “great thing” for the Sussexes.

One Sandringham visitor said the move would be good for the couple while they have a young child (PA)

“I just think it’s good because they’re a young family and royal duties are hectic and I think as a young family they should have time for themselves while they’re young with their children,” he said.

“I’m pretty sure there’s other royals who could step in and step up to the plate.”

But Simon Webb, 73, of King’s Lynn, said: “I think if they’re going to (step back from royal duties) then they need to pay the money back on Frogmore House because that’s only just a recent thing.

“I think also they can’t trade off the royal name.

“Otherwise they can do what they like.

“I don’t think they can keep dipping in and out as it suits them, because that’s what they seem to do.

“I think I feel for the Queen on this if they haven’t consulted with her, she must find that difficult.”