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'Megxit' makes shortlist of 2020 word of the year - but pipped to the post by 'lockdown'

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·3-min read

Watch: Harry and Meghan’s life since Megxit

‘Megxit’, the term coined to describe the decision by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to step back as senior members of the Royal Family, has been shortlisted as one of the most popular words of 2020.

Each year Collins dictionary releases its words of the year, which either came into or rose to common parlance throughout the previous 12 months.

In January, Harry and Meghan sparked one of the biggest royal crises for decades when they announced they no longer wanted to be full time working royals, but hoped to split their time between the US and the UK, most importantly, earning their own money.

The term Megxit was coined by tabloid newspapers, inspired by the word Brexit, which defined Britain’s departure from the EU.

Collins defined Megxit as “the withdrawal of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex from royal duties, announced in January 2020”.

However the word didn’t make it to the top of the list. Lexicographers at the dictionary named ‘lockdown’ as the word of the year.

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LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 09: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex meets children as she attends the Commonwealth Day Service 2020 on March 09, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
The Commonwealth Day Service in March was the couple's last royal engagement. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

The Collins blog explained: “Our lexicographers chose ‘lockdown’ as Word of the Year because it is a unifying experience for billions of people across the world, who have had, collectively, to play their part in combating the spread of COVID-19. Collins registered over a quarter of a million usages of ‘lockdown’ during 2020, against only 4,000 the previous year.”

Other words related to the current pandemic also made the list, including furlough, key worker, and coronavirus.

The abbreviation BLM, which stands for Black Lives Matter, also made it onto the shortlist.

Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, married in 2018 and quickly began working royal life with engagements and tours.

However, after the birth of their son Archie in 2019, there were some signs that they were not entirely happy. During a royal tour of Africa, Meghan gave an emotional interview, thanking journalist Chris Ship for asking if she was ‘OK’, while Harry told him he and Prince William were “on different paths”.

Read more: Meghan Markle's history of campaigning against racism – from her early acting days to royal court cases

The couple hosted and moderated talks with people who are working in the digital space. (TIME)
Harry and Meghan now live in California where they are working toward their foundation, Archewell. (TIME)

With the Queen’s blessing they took a long break in Canada over Thanksgiving and Christmas, but their return to the UK in January was brief.

The shock announcement of their plans to step back was accompanied by a new website, but their hopes of being able to represent the Queen and make money were dashed by the palace.

The couple now live in Santa Barbara in a home they are understood to have bought with a mortgage. They have signed a deal with Netflix to produce documentaries, scripted series and children’s programming.

Meghan became the first member of the British Royal Family to vote when she cast a ballot in the 2020 election, though it was not confirmed how she voted.

She has previously been a vocal opponent of Donald Trump, who lost his bid for re-election with Joe Biden securing enough electoral college votes to secure the White House.