The statement which has come as a shock to the Queen and the entire British Royal Family, reads:
“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year” they wrote on Instagram, explaining that they hope to “carve out a progressive new role within this institution.”
“We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen,” they said.
The statement by Harry and Meghan comes a few days after they returned from Canada and according to reports, they did not consult any other members of the British royal family about their decision.
In a statement issued just hours after the couple’s Instagram post, Buckingham Palace said the situation was “complicated.”
“Discussions with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage,” the unsigned Royal Communications statement said. “We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.”
In their social media post, the couple revealed they plan to split their time between the UK and North America.
“This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity,” they wrote.
“We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.”
The Duke and Duchess have long had 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.
The couple will feel that they can win these court cases on the basis that they do have a right to a private life.
On Tuesday, they paid a visit to Canada House, in London, to thank officials for the hospitality shown to them while they were there.