Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, announced Wednesday they "intend to step back as 'senior' members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent."
"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," they posted on Instagram.
The couple — whose son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, was born last May — said they plan to balance their time between the United Kingdom and North America while "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," the announcement said.
American-born Markle was an actress before becoming a royal, appearing in a number of TV series before landing her role on the show "Suits."
Buckingham Palace issued its own statement Wednesday saying the discussions are "at an early stage." The statement added that the royal family understands the couple's "desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through."
Harry and Meghan recently spoke about the hardships, pressures and family rifts they've faced since marrying in May 2018, according to NBC News. The comments came in a documentary about the royal couple made by British broadcaster ITV and filmed during the couple's tour of southern Africa this past fall.
Last year, the tabloid Daily Mail published a private letter written by Meghan, NBC News reported. As a result, the couple filed a claim against the tabloid's parent company, Associated Papers, for the misuse of private information, infringement of copyright and breach of the United Kingdom's Data Protection Act 2018.
Harry said in a written statement that his wife "has become one of the latest victims of a British tabloid press that wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences – a ruthless campaign that has escalated over the past year, throughout her pregnancy and while raising our newborn son."
He added that "there comes a point when the only thing to do is to stand up to this behaviour, because it destroys people and destroys lives."