Royal family stunned by 'Megxit'

Updated: Jan 10, 2020, 10:46 IST | Agencies | London

Harry and Megan announced plans to step back, split their time between UK and North America

London: UK's Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle have announced quitting their front-line roles to focus on the "next chapter", stunning the monarchy and drawing sharp criticism from the British media which has been reporting of a widening rift within the Royal family.

In an extraordinary statement released on Wednesday night, the couple announced plans to step back from their current roles and split their time between the UK and North America with their son Archie. Buckingham Palace described the process as "complicated" as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex issued the statement to reveal their intention after months of "reflection" to become financially independent and set up their own charitable entity as they carve out a new role for themselves in the New Year.

"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," their statement notes. It adds: "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."

The Royal Family was said to be "hurt" and "deeply disappointed" after the Duke and Duchess of Sussexes' decision which they took without consulting the Queen, the Prince of Wales or the Duke of Cambridge, the Telegraph reported. As the couple, Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, unveiled their "exciting next step", it seemed that the other royals, including 93-year-old Queen Elizabeth II, were taken by surprise.

According to the BBC, Prince Harry spoke about a rift between him and his elder brother William, the Duke of Cambridge, by saying they were on "different paths". Also, Duke and Duchess of Sussexes' absence from Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton's last two birthdays stoked rumours of a rift between Prince William and Harry, the Daily Express said.

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