Buckingham Palace Says Things Are ‘Complicated’ Following Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s Decision to ‘Step Back’ From Royal Duties

A royal standoff? Buckingham Palace has responded after Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan announced on Wednesday, January 8, that they are taking a “step back” as senior members of the British royal family.

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“Discussions with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage,” Buckingham Palace, headed by Queen Elizabeth II, said in a statement released on Wednesday. “We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.”

The statement comes after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex revealed that 2020 would bring new things for their family — and a less prominent focus on their usual royal duties.

Buckingham Palace Early Stage Discussions With Prince Harry Duchess Meghan
Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry at Canada Gallery during their visit to Canada House on January 7, 2020 in London, England. Shutterstock

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“We have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” the joint statement 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.”

The statement continued, “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.”

The remaining members of the royal family have yet to speak out publicly on the manner, but royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams told Us Weekly exclusively on Wednesday, “the other royals didn’t know of the statement, this really is extraordinary. It’s totally irresponsible.”

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“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.” – The Duke and Duchess of Sussex For more information, please visit sussexroyal.com (link in bio) Image © PA

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Fitzwilliams says Queen Elizabeth “will come to terms” with the royal family’s “inner core of royals” becoming smaller seeing as things are “clearly changing” within the family, “but there’s no doubt that this will be a blow to its hopes in modernizing.”

Buckingham Palace Early Stage Discussions With Prince Harry Duchess Meghan
Queen Elizabeth II at St Mary Magdalene Church on December 25, 2019 in Norfolk, United Kingdom. Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

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He continued: “Equally, the Queen is someone who’s adapted in long reign to me in many ways and it’s important to remember that the monarchy reinvents itself.”

Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, noted that this decision came after “many months of reflection and internal discussion.”

They concluded that they “look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step” in the near future. Despite this break from the royal family, they confirmed that they will “continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties.”

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