In a statement posted to Instagram, the couple revealed that they reached this conclusion on Wednesday, January 8, after “many months of reflection and internal discussions.” Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, said they will “continue to collaborate Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties” during this “transition” period.
“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,” the statement read. “It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages.”
The duo, who wed in May 2018, stated that this change will allow them to “raise our son [Archie] 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.”
In the wake of Harry and Meghan’s statement, Buckingham Palace issued a response to the pair’s announcement. The palace, which is headed by Queen Elizabeth II, said that “discussions with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage.” It also regarded the transition and relocation as “complicated issues that will take time to work through.”
Harry and Meghan have been slowly separating themselves from the royal family beginning with their six-week hiatus from royal duties in November 2019. They were absent from this year’s annual Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday traditions, choosing to spend that time separately with their 8-month-old son, Archie, and the Suits alum’s mother, Doria Ragland.
Meghan’s father, Thomas Markle, spoke exclusively to Us Weekly about his daughter and son-in-law’s choice. “I’ll just simply say I’m disappointed,” the 74-year-old said on Wednesday.
In stepping back from their senior positions, Harry and Meghan will employ new protocols this year. “In 2020 Harry and Meghan will be changing how they work with the media, to ensure diverse and open access to their work,” Omid Scobie, royal editor for Harper’s Bazaar, tweeted on Wednesday. Among those changes include, engaging “with grassroots media organisations” and to “no longer participate in the Royal Rota system.”
Scroll down below to see how the stars are reacting to Harry and Meghan’s next phase!