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Queen Elizabeth, Royal Family were unaware of Meghan and Harry's plan to step back

Posted: 9:43 AM, Jan 09, 2020
Updated: 2020-01-09 15:32:16-05
Queen Elizabeth, Royal Family were unaware of Meghan and Harry's plan to step back

Britain's royal family is scrambling to contain the fallout from the surprise announcement by Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, that they intend to step back from royal duties.

Harry and Meghan say they plan to split their time between the United Kingdom and North America. They also want to become financially independent.

But senior royals — including Queen Elizabeth II herself — apparently weren't told in advance about the couple's decision.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex made the announcement Wednesday evening. In a statement posted to Instagram, the couple announced that they sought a "more progressive role" within the Royal Family while still striving to support the Crown.

"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 read. "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."

However, the Associated Press reports that the couple's statement and the launching of a new website, sussexroyal.com, were not cleared by the Queen, senior royals or their advisers.

The royal rift dominated Britain's media Thursday.

Reports said that Queen Elizabeth II had not been informed of the decision. The Sun and the New York Post described the departure as "Megxit," a play on Brexit.

A statement released by Buckingham Palace later on Wednesday hinted that it had been previously unaware of Harry and Meghan's plans. The Palace said that discussions were in 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 statement read, according to the Associated Press.

Meghan, a native of Chicago and a former actress, recently spent time with Harry and her mother on Vancouver Island during the holidays. Many suspect the majority of the couple's time in North America will be spent in Canada — a former territory of the United Kingdom.