It’s a new era for the royal family. Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan took to Instagram on Wednesday, January 8 to reveal their plans to take a step back from some of their duties and to become “financially independent” while still working with the Queen and palace.

“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,” they announced in the lengthy caption. “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 continued, “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 honor 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.”

Prince Harry Duchess Meghan Stepping Back
Daniel Leal-Olivas/AP/Shutterstock

“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,” they concluded. “Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.”

The announcement comes just weeks after the couple spent quality time in Canada following their holiday vacation away from their royal duties. Though an insider initially told In Touch that the queen was “devastated” by their decision to spend Christmas with the duchess’ mother instead of at Sandringham. Over time, however, it seems she eventually came around to the idea.

“In the end, the Queen didn’t mind that they did their own thing,” a source exclusively spilled to In Touch in December 2019. “She actually wanted them to announce it to take away from the fact that Prince Philip is in the hospital. She doesn’t want anyone to focus on that or the discussions about [Prince] Andrew, etc. She’s happy for them to be the talking point.”

But splitting their time year-round isn’t exactly the same as spending the holidays away. Following Meghan and Harry’s announcement, the royal family released an official response of their own hinting that this decision may not be set in stone just yet. “Discussions with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage,” read a statement shared by the royal communications. “We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.”

We doubt the royal couple will let that get in their way. These two have always followed their own path. Princess Diana’s former assistant, Paul Burrell, exclusively told Life & Style even seemingly predicted the split from the family. “I see them making their own rules. The way Diana did,” he shared. “After all, Diana’s inspiration and Diana’s knowledge from the past is invaluable to them now.”

For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!