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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced their plan to step back as 'senior' royals in a surprise statement issued on Instagram.

The royal couple shared that "after many months of reflection and internal discussions" they plan to seek financial independence and split their time between the United Kingdom and North America.

The news comes after the couple's recent decision to split from tradition and spend Christmas away from the Royal family. Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and their son Archie holidayed in Canada for six-weeks instead.

View this post on Instagram

“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

A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal) on

Meghan has been forthcoming with her struggles joining the royal family. In an interview with ITV, she revealed she has struggled amid the pressures of press interest in her public life as a member of the Royal Family.

As expected, fans and critics alike shared their reactions to the surprisingnews on social media.

Shortly after the announcement, Buckingham Palace responded with their own statement saying:

“Discussions with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage,” the statement read. “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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