Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have announced they will step back as “senior” royals and work to become financially independent.
In a statement, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex also said they plan to split their time between the UK and North America.
According to the UK’s media outlets, no other royals – including Queen Elizabeth II or Prince William – was consulted before the statement and Buckingham Palace is “disappointed”.
Senior royals are understood to be “hurt” by the announcement.
In October 2019, Prince Harry and his wife publicly revealed their struggles under the media spotlight.
In their unexpected statement on January 8, also posted on their Instagram page, Prince Harry and Meghan said they made the decision “after many months of reflection and internal discussions”.
“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.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex said they plan to balance their time between the UK and North America while “continuing to honor 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 Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said discussions with the royal couple on their decision to step back were “at an early stage”, adding: “We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.”
Over Christmas, Prince Harry and Meghan took a six-week break from royal duties to spend some time in Canada with their son, Archie, who was born in May.
After returning to the UK on January 7, Prince Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, visited Canada’s High Commission in London to thank the country for hosting them and said the warmth and hospitality they received was “unbelievable”.
During the visit, Meghan said it was an “incredible time” to enjoy the “beauty of Canada”.
She said: “To see Archie go ‘ah’ when you walk by, and just see how stunning it is – so it meant a lot to us.”
Former actress Meghan Markel lived and worked in Toronto during her time starring in the popular American drama Suits, and she has several Canadian friends.
Prince Harry’ move was compared by specialists to Edward VIII’s abdication in 1936 in order to marry twice-divorced American Wallis Simpson.
The Duke of Sussex is sixth in line to the throne – behind Prince Charles, Prince William and his three children.
In an ITV documentary in 2019, Meghan Markle admitted motherhood was a “struggle” due to intense interest from newspapers.
Prince Harry also responded to reports of a rift between him and his brother William, the Duke of Cambridge, by saying they were on “different paths”.
In October, Meghan began legal action against the Mail on Sunday over a claim that it unlawfully published one of her private letters.
Prince Harry also began legal action against the owners of the Sun, the defunct News of the World, and the Daily Mirror, in relation to alleged phone-hacking.