Photo: Chris Jackson / Getty Images
Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan have shocked royal watchers by announcing they plan to "step down" as senior members of the family and "carve out a progressive new role." The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced the surprising news to their Instagram followers on Jan. 8.
"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. "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 couple stated they plan to balance their time between the United Kingdom and North America, and would continue to honour their duties to the Queen, Commonwealth and the patronages they support.
"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," they continued. "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."
Meghan, Harry and Archie recently spent their Christmas holidays in Canada, where they spent the season with Doria Ragland, the duchess' mother, and several friends. They were reportedly staying on Vancouver Island in a home near North Saanich, just north of the British Columbian capital of Victoria.
"Any woman, especially when they're pregnant, you're really vulnerable, and so that was made really challenging," Meghan said in the documentary, which was released in late 2019. "And then when you have a newborn, you know... so you add this on top of just trying to be a new mom or trying to be a newlywed... thank you for asking because not many people have asked if I'm okay."
When ITV's Tom Bradby, who was interviewing the couple at the time, asked if it "would be fair" to say Meghan was "not really okay," Meghan said, "Yes."
At the current time, it is not known whether Harry, Meghan and Archie will spend more time in Canada as a result of this move. Meghan is originally from Los Angeles, but also has a strong connection to Canada, having worked and lived in Toronto for seven years while she was a cast member of Suits.