Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, announced on Wednesday that they would “step back as ‘senior’ members of the royal family” and split their time between Britain and North America.
The decision was announced on the couple’s Instagram account, and was made “after many months of reflection and internal discussions,” they said. The couple added that they intended “to carve out a progressive new role within this institution” and become financially independent.
Though the statement gave no indication of where the couple would spend time in North America, speculation quickly grew that they would go either to Canada, a commonwealth country that they recently visited, or Los Angeles, where Meghan is from.
“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 statement said.
The statement follows months of public steps by Prince Harry and Meghan that were unusually candid by the cloistered standards of the royal family. On a trip to Africa in this summer, the couple spoke in interviews for a documentary about the struggles of royal life and the negative coverage they had received since they were wed. And in the fall, they filed a series of lawsuits against journalists’ invasive tactics.
Over the past year, Meghan and Harry have also distanced themselves from some official royal engagements. Last month, for instance, they did not attend the NATO summit reception at Buckingham Palace or Queen Elizabeth II’s Christmas diplomatic reception. Instead the couple and their son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, visited Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, in the United States.