Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to 'step back' as senior members of royal family

Get the latest from TODAY

Sign up for our newsletter
SUBSCRIBE
/ Source: TODAY
By Scott Stump

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, have announced they intend to "step back" as senior members of the British royal family to work on becoming financially independent and carve out "progressive" new roles.

Harry and the former Meghan Markle released a statement on their official Instagram Wednesday saying they also intend to spend more time in North America while continuing to support Queen Elizabeth II.

"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,'' they wrote. "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."

A statement released by Buckingham Palace later on Wednesday read, "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."

The announcement marks the latest break from royal traditions for the couple. They recently spent Christmas in Canada with their baby son, Archie, rather than joining the royal family for the traditional ceremony with the queen at the Sandringham estate in England.

In March, they announced they were splitting the royal household, moving from Kensington Palace to Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor estate. They later split from the charity they shared with Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, to form their own foundation.

The couple also has had an ongoing battle with the British tabloids, which has included filing multiple lawsuits against the owners of two London tabloids. The duchess also opened up about it in an ITV documentary in October, saying that she was unprepared for the intense spotlight of the British tabloids and had been warned they would "destroy" her life if she married Harry.