Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Are Stepping Back as “Senior Members” of Royal Family

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, have decided to “step back” as “senior members of the Royal Family,” they announced on the Sussex Royal Instagram on January 8. It’s a move that media outlets are already calling “unprecedented.”

“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,” Prince Harry and Meghan Markle shared on Instagram. “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.”

The post concludes, “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.”

As People notes, the news this week indicates Harry and Megan won’t reside full time in the U.K., and the “North America” the royals mention could be Canada (Meghan previously lived in Toronto, and the family recently vacationed on Vancouver Island).

The announcement comes after months of tabloid harassment involving Harry and Meghan. In October, Prince Harry announced that Meghan would be pursuing legal action against the Mail on Sunday, which reportedly published a letter Meghan wrote to her father, Thomas Markle. In his statement, Harry compared the situation to the one his mother, Princess Diana, had faced.

“My deepest fear is history repeating itself. I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditized to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person,” he said at the time. “I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.”

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