Buckingham Palace is understood to be ‘disappointed’ at Harry and Meghan’s decision to quit senior royalty amid claims that the couple did not tell the Queen before they announced their departure on social media.
They made their announcement on their official Instagram account this evening following speculation about a move.
Following their statement, the BBC’s Royal Correspondent Jonny Dymond said on Twitter: ‘BBC Understands that no other member of the Royal Family was consulted before Harry and Meghan issued their personal statement tonight, the Palace is understood to be “disappointed”.’
A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman followed up by saying that discussions with the couple on their decision were ‘at an early stage’, adding: ‘We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.’
It came after Harry and Meghan wrote on social media: ‘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.’
A statement on their official website added: ‘In 2020, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have made the choice to transition into a new working model.
‘As they step back as senior members of the Royal Family and no longer receive funding through the Sovereign Grant, they will become members of the Royal Family with financial independence which is something they look forward to.’
Below the statement was a sequence of questions and answers on why they are choosing to make the move and how their future will look.
Explaining why Harry and Meghan have decided to pursue the ‘new working model’, the website reads: ‘The Duke and Duchess of Sussex take great pride in their work and are committed to continuing their charitable endeavours as well as establishing new ones.
‘In addition, they value the ability to earn a professional income, which in the current structure they are prohibited from doing. For this reason they have made the choice to become members of the Royal Family with financial independence.
‘Their Royal Highnesses feel this new approach will enable them to continue to carry out their duties for Her Majesty The Queen, while having the future financial autonomy to work externally.
‘While the contribution from The Sovereign Grant covers just five percent of costs for The Duke and Duchess and is specifically used for their official office expense, Their Royal Highnesses prefer to release this financial tie.’
But it goes on to state that the couple will still benefit from state-funded security measures.
‘The provision of armed security by The Metropolitan Police is mandated by the Home Office, a ministerial department of Her Majesty’s Government, responsible for security and law & order,’ it reads.
‘The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are classified as internationally protected people which mandates this level of security.’
The couple’s move follows weeks of speculation about their future after they took an extended break from royal duties over the festive period that followed an emotional appearance in a documentary.
In the ITV programme they spoke about the pressures they have been facing and family rifts, and in a separate move Harry issued a damning statement against the media accusing sections of the press of bullying his wife.