The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have announced that they are to step down from their positions as senior royals and furthermore, they will be spending more time in North America.
In a dramatic and unexpected statement, the couple said “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.” They continued, “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.”
The statement was issued on Instagram on Wednesday evening and is now thought to have been published without first telling The Queen, the Prince of Wales, or the Duke of Cambridge.
A terse statement from Buckingham Palace issued in response to the couple’s announcement 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.”
With the launching of their new website (www.sussexroyal.com) many have speculated that this decision may have been sometime in the making and may well point to a rift in the Sussexes relationship with the rest of their family.
Following the Duke of York’s ‘demotion’ following allegations regarding sexual abuse, the Prince of Wales had been the leading advocate a so-called ‘slimmed down’ leadership team for the royal family. The Sussexes were due to play a leading role in this, especially with outreach to the Commonwealth, and to the African Commonwealth nations in particular. Their abrupt decision to separate themselves so decisively from the rest of the senior royals will now bring that role into serious question.