Buckingham Palace warns Harry and Meghan: Stepping back ‘will be complicated’

Buckingham Palace has warned the Duke and Duchess of Sussex that their decision to "step back" from the royal family will be "complicated" and talks are still at an early stage.

It is understood that the Queen and the Prince of Wales were not aware of the content of Harry and Meghan's bombshell personal statement before it was issued.

The couple's decision was announced on Wednesday evening when they said they will work to become financially independent while continuing to "fully support" the Queen.

But a Palace spokeswoman said: "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."

The couple's move follows weeks of speculation about their future after they took an extended break from royal duties over the festive period.

In the ITV programme they spoke about the pressures they have been facing and family rifts, and in a separate move Harry issued a damning statement against the media accusing sections of the press of bullying his wife.

The couple said in their statement: "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.

"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.

"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.

"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."

Harry and Meghan have only recently returned from their six-week break spent in the Canadian province of British Columbia with their eight-month-old son Archie.

Their first royal engagement of the new decade was to visit Canada's High Commission in central London to thank Canadians in person for the warmth of the welcome they received.

It is likely they will be spending their time in the Commonwealth country when not in UK and may travel to America, Meghan's homeland and where her mother lives.

Any move to Canada, even for a period of the year, would throw up important questions about Meghan and Harry's long-term future within the royal family.

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Harry and Meghan visit Canada’s High Commission
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Harry and Meghan visit Canada’s High Commission
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex leaving after their visit to Canada House, central London, meeting with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette (right), as well as staff to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex leave Canada House in London after thanking Canada's High Commissioner for Canada in the UK, Janice Charette (R) for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada. (Photo by Steve Taylor / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan Duchess of Sussex are greeted outside Canada House in London by Canada's High Commissioner for Canada in the UK, Janice Charette (L) and the deputy High Commissioner, Sarah Fountain Smith (2nd from left). (Photo by Steve Taylor / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex leave Canada House in London after thanking Canada's High Commissioner for Canada in the UK, Janice Charette for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada. (Photo by Steve Taylor / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrives at Canada House in London. Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan Duchess of Sussex met Canada's High Commissioner for Canada in the UK, Janice Charette thanking her for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada. (Photo by Steve Taylor / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
The Duchess of Sussex wearing a brown polo neck top and a Massimo Dutti skirt, and The Duke of Sussex visit Canada House in London on January 07, 2020.
The Duchess of Sussex wearing a brown polo neck top and a Massimo Dutti skirt, and The Duke of Sussex visit Canada House in London on January 07, 2020.
The Duchess of Sussex wearing a Reiss camel coat, and The Duke of Sussex visit Canada House in London on January 07, 2020.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex look at a special exhibition of art by Indigenous Canadian artist, Skawennati, in the Canada Gallery during their visit to Canada House, central London, meeting with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex look at a special exhibition of art by Indigenous Canadian artist, Skawennati, in the Canada Gallery during their visit to Canada House, central London, meeting with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex look at a special exhibition of art by Indigenous Canadian artist, Skawennati, in the Canada Gallery during their visit to Canada House, central London, meeting with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex leaving after their visit to Canada House, central London, meeting with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex leaving after their visit to Canada House, central London, meeting with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette and the deputy High Commissioner, Sarah Fountain Smith (left), as well as staff to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
The Duchess of Sussex arrves for her visit to Canada House, central London, meeting with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex talk with the High Commissioner for Canada in the UK Janice Charette (2nd left) and the deputy High Commissioner Sarah Fountain Smith (left) during their visit to Canada House, central London, meeting staff to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex during their visit to Canada House, central London, meeting with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex during their visit to Canada House, central London, meeting with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
The Duchess of Sussex arriving for her visit to Canada House, central London, to meet with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff, to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
The Duchess of Sussex arriving for the visit to Canada House, central London, to meet with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff, to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.
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Meghan, a former actress, lived and worked in Toronto during her time starring in the popular US drama Suits, and the couple were famously pictured together when Meghan joined her then-boyfriend Harry at the 2017 Invictus Games in the city.

The cost of security for the couple would also be an issue, and as Canada is a realm, a country where the Queen is head of state, it may have to pay for keeping the couple and their son Archie safe.

The couple's aim to be "financially independent" may point towards them seeking a job, or a paid role with an organisation whose aims compliment their own beliefs.

Other members of the monarchy who have salaried jobs include the Queen's grandchildren Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and Peter Phillips, who all work for a living.

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