WhilePrince Harry and Duchess Meghan's news they will "step down" as senior members of the Royal Family shocked fans this week, there are reports that members of the royal household had been aware of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's plans.
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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
"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," the Sussexes said in their statement, released on their Instagram page.
In a piece for Bazaar.com, royal reporter Omid Scobie wrote that senior aides said conversations about Harry and Meghan's future and roles had taken place internally "on all levels" for several months prior to the announcement on Jan. 8.
The "surprise" over the statement had more to do with the timing. The report says the couple had initially intended to hold off on making their announcement until further logistical details had been sorted. But plans were changed, which may have been due to a fear of their news getting leaked, according to the piece.
The Queen released a short statement after Harry and Meghan's announcement on Jan. 8, confirming talks were still going on.
"Discussions with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage," her office at Buckingham Palace said. "We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through."
The next day, royal editor Emily Nash reported that courtiers from all the households were meeting to help Harry and Meghan transition their roles.
Courtiers from all four households met this afternoon to help Harry and Meghan with their vision for the future. “They want to try to do something different and the family is resolved to help them see if it can be done.."
— Emily Nash (@emynash) January 9, 2020
Harry and Meghan's newly launched Sussex Royal website seeks to answer some questions royal fans have, including their plans related to money after revealing a goal to become "financially independent." The couple also address where they will live. The site states more information about their future charitable endeavours will be announced in due course.