British royals Harry and Meghan step back from senior roles in surprise move
10/01/2020 10:13, London/United Kingdom

(TAP) - Prince Harry and his wife Meghan will step back from senior roles in Britain's royal family and spend more time in North America, they said on Wednesday, an announcement that appears to have taken his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, by surprise.

After a turbulent year which saw a widening rift with the media and a falling-out with elder brother Prince William, Harry said the couple hoped to become financially independent and set up a new charity, while continuing some royal duties.

"After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution," said Harry, sixth in line to the throne, and former actress Meghan in a statement.

"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 couple said they would share full details of "this exciting next step" as soon as they had discussed the move with the queen, Harry's father Prince Charles and William.

But the timing of the announcement appeared to have wrongfooted family members, including the queen, a senior royal source told Reuters.

"Other members of the family were not consulted on the content," the source said.

Buckingham Palace said discussions with Harry and Meghan were 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," it said.

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