Buckingham Palace initially refused to comment on rumours that Duke and Duchess of Sussex would be relocating their family to Canada.
But on Wednesday evening, the couple confirmed they would “step back as ‘senior’ members of the royal family” in an Instagram post and split their time between North America and UK.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wrote: “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.”
The confirmation follows reports suggesting that the couple would be looking to move to Canada with their eight-month-old son Archie for a “significant portion” of 2020.
The reports come after the royals visited Vancouver, on the west coast, for a six-week holiday at Christmas with Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland.
On Wednesday morning, The Sun published an exclusive, suggesting that the reason behind any prospective move comes as the couple consider the future for their young family, and their positions with the monarchy.
But the report stressed that all talks are preliminary and nothing has been finalised yet.
In an email to The Independent, a spokesperson for the palace, said at the time: “This is not something we are offering any comment on”.
On the couple’s return from their Christmas trip they made their first public appearance since Remembrance Day by visiting Canada House, the Canadian embassy in London’s Trafalgar Square.
The royals met with commission staff and Janice Charette, High Commissioner to Canada, to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their stay in the country.
Neither royal is a Canadian citizen, although Meghan previously lived in Toronto, Canada, for seven years while acting in TV drama, Suits, and still has friends who live in the country.
In an interview with ITV journalist Tom Bradby, in October 2019 during their 10-day tour of southern Africa, Meghan said that joining the royals had been a “struggle”.
She said prior to her engagement friends had warned her British tabloids would “destroy your life” but she ignored their warnings. “I had no idea which probably sounds difficult to understand here,” she said.
She continued: “It’s not just enough to survive something, you’ve got to thrive. I really tried to adopt this British sensibility of a ‘stiff upper lip’, but I think that what that does internally is probably really damaging.
“The biggest thing that I know, I never thought this would be easy, but I thought it would be fair. And that’s the part that’s really hard to reconcile.”
In response to being asked if she was okay, Meghan agreed it was fair to say “not really ok” and that it had been a “struggle”.
“And, also thank you for asking, because not many people have asked if I’m OK. But it’s a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes.”
Prince Harry said, in the same interview: “I will always protect my family. And now I have a family to protect.”
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