Prince Harry and Meghan Markle just announced they're taking a 'step back' from the royal family after months of rumours

  • Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced in an Instagram post on Wednesday that they would take a “step back” from the royal family.
  • 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.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced in an Instagram post on Wednesday that they would take a “step back” from the royal family.

Rumors that the couple were intending to distance themselves from the rest of the royal family have circulated for months, but no formal announcement has been made until now.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B7EaGS_Jpb9/

The post said 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 would look like. However, the duke and duchess made clear that they made the decision partly because of how they want to raise their son, Archie, splitting their time between the UK and North America.

“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,” the post said.

The post also said the couple planned to launch a “new charitable entity.”

On their website, the duke and duchess said they would change their relationship with the media going forward. Omid Scobie, 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 myriad 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

Last month, there was speculation that Harry and Markle would not be included in the Queen’s annual Christmas broadcast; however, she included a photo of them when the broadcast aired.

The rumors intensified over the holidays when the couple spent Christmas with Archie in Canada without the rest of the royal family.

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 it 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 fewer people have official royal duties and access to royal funds, so it’s possible the duke and duchess may have had Charles’ wishes in mind.

In addition, news broke in December that nearly 4,000 people had signed a petition calling for Harry and Markle to stop using “Sussex” in their titles, according to Travel + Leisure magazine. However, it’s unlikely that they would retire Sussex, given that this is how their official Instagram and website are styled and that they signed their latest announcement “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.”

It’s unclear whether Harry and Markle’s announcement will affect 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.

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