The surprise announcement reportedly caught the royal family unawares and they said that it is a "complicated" issue that will need time.
In a surprising move, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, announced that they will be stepping back as "senior royals." The couple, who recently returned from their Canada holiday break, released a statement through their Instagram account.
“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 honor our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages," they announced while sharing a photo from their engagement.
"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," they said in their statement, which was signed Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
The couple had spent their winter holiday with son Archie on Vancouver Island, as confirmed by the palace. "The decision to base themselves in Canada reflects the importance of this Commonwealth country to them both," said the statement, as per People. "Whilst this email confirms the country they are taking their family time in, for security reasons we will not be releasing any further details and request that their privacy is respected."
While the royal family had been aware of their need for "private family time", they were caught unawares of the couple's decision to step back from their role as royals. Answering many questions the royal family may have had and the media had, the Sussexes emphasized that financial independence was crucial to them.
"In addition, they value the ability to earn a professional income, which in the current structure they are prohibited from doing," they said, according to People. "Their Royal Highnesses feel this new approach will enable them to continue to carry out their duties for Her Majesty The Queen, while having the future financial autonomy to work externally."
According to BBC, the royal family feels "hurt" by their sudden announcement as no senior royal was consulted before the Sussexes spoke to the public. Buckingham Palace was "blindsided", said BBC royal correspondent Jonny Dymond. "Discussions with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage. We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through," the palace said, as per BBC.