Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made the surprising announcement that they will "step back" from their royal duties. The decision comes in the wake of rumors about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex potentially moving from the United Kingdom. The announcement was made on the couple's Instagram account, Sussex Royal.
"After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting 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 wrote.
"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," they continued.
"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," the message said.
"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 of Sussex," they concluded.
Within forty minutes, the post had already received over 355,000 likes and nearly 15,000 comments. Many of those messages included best wishes for the couple, as well as notes of support.
On their new website, Sussex Royal, the pair further explained the details behind their departure from the Royal Family. One of the reasons given was that the pair desired financial independence. Though they had previously been given funding through the Sovereign Grant, they wanted to "earn" an income, which they were previously not allowed to do as working royals.
Harry and Meghan also added that though they will travel between North America and the United Kingdom, they plan to continue using Frogmore Cottage as their official residence.
The announcement comes after months of the pair being plagued by rumors that they wanted to move from the United Kingdom. At first, insiders claimed that the duo was thinking about making their home in Africa, but it has since been reported that the two were eyeing Canada.
When Harry and Meghan spent their six-week break in the Great White North, the rumors only grew more persistent, with insiders saying that the Sussexes were seriously and imminently considering the move.
However, the Palace shot down those rumors as recently as Tuesday, claiming that the notion was pure "speculation" and that they would have no other comment, per The Daily Mail. The fact that Harry and Meghan released the news just a day later is an awkward public relations failure for Buckingham Palace.
The Palace has not yet released any comment on the new announcement.
Update: the Palace recently released a statement that claimed that discussions are still at an "early stage."The move also comes amid reports of discord between the Sussexes and the rest of the Royal Family. Harry seemed to confirm that there was a rift in the family in the documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey by saying that he and his brother, Prince William, were on "different paths." Harry and Meghan deciding to skip Christmas with the royals instead of showing a sign of unity, added further fuel to the fire.
The news also follows Harry and Meghan saying they want to grow their family. As reported by The Inquisitr, Omid Scobie, a royal reporter close to the couple, hinted that the two might be welcoming another baby in 2020. Harry and Meghan welcomed their firstborn, Archie, in May.