Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, to step back as senior royals

Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, have announced plans to step back as senior members of the royal family.

According to a statement from the royals, released on their social media channels, the couple have made the decision after 'many months of reflection and internal discussions' and plan 'to carve out a progressive new role within this institution'.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex during their visit to the county in October 2018. Pictured at the Joff Youth Centre in Peacehaven

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex during their visit to the county in October 2018. Pictured at the Joff Youth Centre in Peacehaven

They plan to 'work to become financially independent while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen' and will divide their time between the United Kingdom and North America.

Prince Harry and Meghan said this would enable them to raise their son Archie '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 Duke and Duchess were notably absent from the Sandringham Christmas Day church service, attended by the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William and Catherine, instead spending the festive period in Canada.

After being made the Duke and Duchess of Sussex by the Queen following their marriage, the couple undertook a tour of the county, with thousands of people lining the streets of Sussex to see them. Click here to find out more about their visit.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex during their visit to the county in October 2018. Pictured at the opening of the University of Chichester's Bognor Regis campus

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex during their visit to the county in October 2018. Pictured at the opening of the University of Chichester's Bognor Regis campus

In their statement, Harry and Meghan said they would 'continue to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages' and collaborate with the senior members of the royal family and 'all relevant parties'.

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