LONDON — Prince Harry and Meghan Markle said Wednesday that they “intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex said that “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.”
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“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,” they said.
The couple also announced in the statement that they want to split their between the U.K. and North America.
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“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,” the couple said.
They added that they would continue to collaborate Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Harry’s grandmother, his father Prince Charles and brother Prince William.
Speculation about their future has been rife in Britain after the pair spent Christmas in Canada on an extended break from royal duties.
That followed an emotional appearance in a documentary by British broadcaster ITV, when they spoke about the pressures they have been facing and family rifts.
Shortly after the birth of baby Archie last May, the pair filed suit against the Daily Mail’s parent company after the tabloid published a private letter written by Meghan Markle earlier this year.
The royal couple filed a claim against Associated Papers in October for the misuse of private information, infringement of copyright and breach of the United Kingdom’s Data Protection Act 2018, according to the law firm representing the couple.
Harry also penned a scathing statement against the British tabloids for a “ruthless campaign” against his wife.
“I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditized to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person,” he said. “I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.”
Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, died in a 1997 car accident while trying to escape paparazzi in Paris.
This is a developing story, check back for updates.