Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. Picture: Getty
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. Picture: Getty

Palace blindsided as Harry, Meghan quit as senior royals

Prince Harry and Meghan blindsided the Queen with their announcement they planned to quit royal duties and move to Canada.

It is understood the Queen was "disappointed" that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex made the shock call without telling her, or any other royals, first.

"Discussions with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage," Buckingham Palace said this morning.

"We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through."

There are also questions about how Harry and Meghan plan to pay for themselves in Canada, with the couple set to lose up to $3.8 million each year if they break away from the Royal Family.



However, the British taxpayer was still expected to pick up their annual $1.1 million security bill.

It is the second major announcement that Harry and Meghan have made without warning the Queen first.

They announced they were suing the Mail on Sunday during their royal tour of southern Africa without Buckingham Palace involvement.

The royal couple dropped their quitting bombshell on their Instagram early this morning Australian time.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have announced they are effectively resigning as "senior members of the Royal Family" and working to become "financially independent" in a "progressive new role within this institution".

The bombshell decision  comes as no big surprise, with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex making it clear they've been struggling under the intense public scrutiny over the past year.

This week, they returned to royal duties after a successful secret six-week break to Canada over Christmas - and it's understood arrangements are now being made to allow them to live there for a significant portion of the year.

Prince Harry, Meghan and Archie in their 2019 Christmas card. Picture: Twitter
Prince Harry, Meghan and Archie in their 2019 Christmas card. Picture: Twitter

In the statement, the royal couple explained that it comes after "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," it read.

"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."

Harry and Meghan also confirmed recent speculation that they were intending on becoming only part-time residents of Britain.

 

"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," the couple explained.

"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."

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman followed up by saying that discussions with the couple on their decision 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.'

 

Prince Harry and Archie. Picture: Supplied
Prince Harry and Archie. Picture: Supplied

 

 

 

Prince Harry (R) and Meghan Markle at the Invictus Games in 2017. Picture: Getty
Prince Harry (R) and Meghan Markle at the Invictus Games in 2017. Picture: Getty

 

 

The royal family is shrinking. Picture: Getty
The royal family is shrinking. Picture: Getty

 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex recently returned from a six-week break from royal duties in Canada with their eight-month-old son, Archie.

The couple was reportedly extremely burnt out at the end of 2019 after a year of negative press, which culminated in an extraordinarily candid documentary while on their African tour in October.

During an interview with ITV reporter and royal confidante Tom Bradby, Meghan spoke of her difficulty in adjusting to her new role in the British monarchy, admitting while she never thought it would be easy, she "thought it would be fair."

"It's not enough to just survive something, that's not the point of life, you've got to thrive and feel happy."

"I've really tried to adopt this British sensibility of a stiff upper lip … I've tried, I've really tried."

Harry also spoke about the intense media scrutiny he and Meghan have been under, declaring: "I won't play the game that killed my mother."

The move to Canada would also serve to provide some separation with the British press, following the couple's decision last year to launch lawsuits against two outlets - The Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

More details of the move will be released in "due course", but it's understood Harry and Meghan's official staff will remain at Buckingham Palace.

In the meantime, they will work closely with US PR company Sunshine Sachs to launch the Sussex Royal Foundation in the coming months.


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