The couple said they would split their time between the UK and North America and plan to launch a “new charitable entity.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex said they planned to be financially independent and would still “fully support Her Majesty The Queen” in this new phase.
The announcement came after months of rumors that the couple were distancing themselves from the monarchy — rumors that intensified when they spent Christmas in Canada with baby Archie and without the rest of the royal family.
It’s unclear whether this announcement will affect the line of succession in the British monarchy.
A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal) on Jan 8, 2020 at 10:33am PST
The post says that they “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.”
The post did not offer details on what that financial independence will look like. However, the duke and duchess made clear in their annoucement that the decision came in part because of how they want to raise their son Archie.
“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,” it says.
The post also notes that the couple plan launch a “new charitable entity,” and notes that the duke and duchess will now split their time between the UK and North America.
On their website, the duke and duchess also state that they will be changing their relationship with the media going forward. Omid Scoobie, Harper’s Bazaar’s royal editor-at-large, posted a screenshot of the new guidelines on Twitter.
Notably, Harry and Markle’s itineraries will no longer be made public through the “Royal Rota” system. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have had a myriad of issues with the UK press since they announced their engagement, and both Harry and Meghan have filed lawsuits against British media publications in recent months.
Rumors of Harry and Markle distancing themselves from royal life have been circulating for months
Prince Harry also recently appeared to confirm a rift between him and his brother. Prince William and Kate Middleton included footage of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in their “Year in Review” video, though the video didn’t feature any footage of the princes together.
According to The New York Times, Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, “has long pushed for a more streamlined royal family,” in which a smaller number of people would have official royal duties and access to royal funds, so it’s possible the duke and duchess’ decision may have come with Charles’ wishes in mind.
In addition, news broke in December 2019 that 4,000 people in the United Kingdom had signed a petition calling for Harry and Markle to stop using “Sussex” in their titles, according to Travel + Leisure. However, it appears unlikely that they would retire Sussex, given that this is how their official Instagram and website are styled, and they signed their latest announcement “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.”
It’s unclear if Harry and Markle’s announcement will impact the line of succession in the British monarchy, but Insider has reached out to representatives for the British royal family to find out more.
You can read the full Instagram post from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex below:
“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.”
Representatives for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.