Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, have announced they will step back as ‘senior’ royals on January 8 and work to become financially independent.
“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 announced in a statement.
The duke and duchess also said they plan to split their time between the United Kingdom and North America. The Duchess of Sussex Megan Markle is an American and was raised in Los Angeles, California.
The move was widely speculated after the royal couple had spent six weeks on sabbatical for Thanksgiving and Christmas in Canada. Multiple sources have claimed that no members of the British royal family were consulted about the stepping down of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Buckingham Palace responds
Buckingham Palace has said that the discussions with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are “at an early stage.” A palace statement reads: “We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.”
Buckingham Palace’s January 8 statement is said to be “an unprecedented rap on the knuckles.” According to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the announcement “has no precedent in modern times.”
Reasons for the step
“The golden couple have decided that they are quitting. There are great chunks of the job that they didn’t like,” says BBC royal correspondent Jonny Dymond.
Dymond claims that Harry did not enjoy his duties as a royal member of the family and that he disliked the media attention. “Harry hated the ceremonials and he couldn’t bear the cameras,” Dymond added.
The Duchess is said to have been struggling with her role in the royal family. “Megan said she didn’t want to be a voiceless figurehead but in fact whenever she spoke out, she got criticized for it,” claims Dymond.
The announcement could indicate that the royal couple will now have the private life they’ve always craved for. They are opting out from engaging in formal royal duties, but they will still be able to partake in certain elements such as supporting Queen Elizabeth II and continuing work for the benefit of the Commonwealth.