Prince Harry and Meghan Markle surprised the British public — and multiple royal relatives, apparently — by announcing on Wednesday, January 9, that they intend to “step back” from their duties as senior members of the royal family.
“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 in an Instagram statement released on Wednesday. “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.”
They stated that their new lives will involve a relocation in North America — for part of the time anyway — after leaving son Archie in Canada under the care of Meghan’s friend Jessica Mulroney and a nanny following the family’s Christmas celebrations there. “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 added. “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.”
Harry and Meghan said that they “look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course” and will “continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties.”
The announcement, however, threw some of those “relevant parties” — including Harry’s older brother, Prince William, and grandmother Queen Elizabeth II — for a loop. Scroll down to read more about the ensuing drama.