The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have announced they would be stepping down from royal duties, essentially resigning as members of the British Royal Family. The announcement has shocked just about everyone, with social media teasing the hectic writers’ room for “The Crown” to memes about just how grandmother Queen Elizabeth II must be feeling. 

The move, while shocking, isn’t entirely surprising; as the spare “wild child,” Prince Harry hasn’t exactly been the most traditional royal, especially when compared to older brother Prince William and his wife, Duchess Catherine (William is second in line to the throne after his father Charles, the Prince of Wales. After William’s kids, Harry is sixth in line). 

His 2018 marriage to former actress Meghan Markle caused controversy among family and the public. The changes made to the wedding, to the Sussexes moving out of the traditional home at Kensington Palace to the out of county Windsor Castle, has effectively been leading up to this morning’s announcement. “After many months of reflection and internal discussions,” the statement started, “we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution.”

The couple would have homes both in the U.K. as well as the U.S. — no specific location yet, but Markle, a native of Los Angeles, has reportedly spent time there with her mother since her wedding to Harry. The statement goes on, “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.”

The announcement comes at a tense moment for the British monarchy; Prince Andrew, the Queen’s son and Harry’s uncle, has also stepped back from royal duties due to scandal surrounding his friendship with the late financier and alleged pedophile Jeff Epstein. The Sussexes announcement are likely not related to Andrew’s situation, yet it’s hard to see a still functioning monarchy in the years to come. 

By Michael Jacobo

Photo: @sussexroyal