Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Are Stepping Down From Senior Royal Duties

"We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family."

Meghan and Harry
(Image credit: Samir Hussein)

Major news for royals fans: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have decided to step down from their royal duties. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex shared the news on Instagram Wednesday afternoon, explaining that the decision would enable them to raise their son in the way they feel is best and focus on the launch of their new charity.

Read their statement below:

“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 honour 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. 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.”

According to royal reporter Chris Ship, this essentially means that Meghan and Harry are resigning from official responsibilities.

Royal reporter Omid Scobie later clarified how Meg and Harry will work with the media, stating that they will no longer participate in the Royal Rota system and will continue to share information from their Instagram account, @SussexRoyal. You can find out exactly what that means here.

It's unclear what this will mean regarding the amount of official public appearances the Duke and Duchess will participate in, but it is clear that this has been a very thought-out decision from the duo. However, it may have come as a surprise to some members of the royal family. BBC's royal correspondent Jonny Dymond wrote: "BBC understands that no other member of the Royal Family was consulted before Harry and Meghan issued their personal statement tonight, the Palace is understood to be ‘disappointed.'"

The Queen's office also seems to have a slightly different take on it. Buckingham Palace said in a statement, "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.”

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Rachel Epstein

Rachel Epstein is a writer, editor, and content strategist based in New York City. Most recently, she was the Managing Editor at Coveteur, where she oversaw the site’s day-to-day editorial operations. Previously, she was an editor at Marie Claire, where she wrote and edited culture, politics, and lifestyle stories ranging from op-eds to profiles to ambitious packages. She also launched and managed the site’s virtual book club, #ReadWithMC. Offline, she’s likely watching a Heat game or finding a new coffee shop.