Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are looking for their fairy tale ending – away from the palace.
In a shocking statement posted to Instagram on Wednesday, the couple announced they are going to “step back as 'senior' members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent.”
The couple, who have a young son named Archie, say they “plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America.” They recently spent time in Canada over the holidays, reportedly visiting Markle’s BFF Jessica Mulroney in Toronto before flying to Vancouver Island to spend time with Markle’s mother.
Hours after the Instagram post, Buckingham Palace released a short statement, saying “Discussions with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage. We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.” BBC is reporting that no other member of the Royal Family was consulted before Harry and Meghan issued their personal statement and, the Palace is ‘disappointed’.
The couple has faced intense scrutiny from the UK media, from tabloids publishing private letters to editorials criticizing their use of private jets. By working to becoming “financially independent,” they presumably will no longer receive taxpayer funding.
The day before the announcement, The Sun published a report that the couple was mulling a semi-permanent move to Canada. A source told the tabloid, "They have a lot of friends there. Meghan feels comfortable and at home there because she lived there for seven years before meeting Harry. They very much enjoyed their time over Christmas and New Year where they weren’t pictured once and were left alone."
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“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. 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. 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. 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 For more information, please visit sussexroyal.com (link in bio) Image © PA
On their official website, the couple also answered questions about the transition and announced their new plans for working with the media:
This extremely detailed website, which apparently no one in the royal family saw, says H & M want to stay at Frogmore Cottage as long as the Queen will let them, they’ll pay for their own travel via commercial transportation, and they want to earn an income for their work. pic.twitter.com/GJyqePLBFa
— Kate Bennett (@KateBennett_DC) January 8, 2020
So why now? The Sussexes (who are still members of the Royal Family and will continue to carry out duties for the Queen) simply want to get on with their work: pic.twitter.com/a7SHoX2irR
— Omid Scobie (@scobie) January 8, 2020