Shockwaves have reverberated around the world this morning with social media alight with news of Meghan and Harry ‘consciously uncoupling’ from the Royal Family.
But was it really a shock or something that could have been foretold months ago?
Here’s what we know so far:
- Couple send Twitter into meltdown with statement saying they are quitting as senior royals
- Want to split their time between the UK and North America
- Want to be financially independent
- The Queen is said to be “deeply upset” on receiving the news second-hand
- Speculation is rife that a divide between Harry and William is a factor in the decision
In the ITV Tom Bradby interview with Meghan and Harry last October, Meghan spoke candidly about the pressures of being a new mum whilst having to deal with the constant intrusion from the press.
“Not many people have asked if I am ok,” she said, proving a telling sign that all was not well.
Harry cited that he and his brother were on “different paths” which also spoke volumes.
In a joint statement the couple attributed wanting to focus on their next chapter which included a new charitable entity.
“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 by Buckingham Palace simply read: “Discussions with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage. We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.”
The last person to step away from Royal duties was Edward VIII. After ruling for less than one year he became the first English monarch to voluntarily abdicate the throne after his decision to marry American divorcee Wallis Warfield Simpson was widely condemned.
Will Harry still carry out some of his royal duties or will he fade into oblivion in the hope of becoming a ‘normal’ family?
With Prince Charles previously stating that when he becomes king he wants to slim down the royal family to its “core members” and Prince Andrew taking a step back from royal duties – is this the start of the collapse of the once seamless Monarchy?