A rather surprising announcement today from two of the most popular members of the British royal family. Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle announce they “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 Duke and Duchess of Sussex released a statement saying:

“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 acknowledge that a lot of their time will now be spent in the United States, where Meghan lived before the pair tied the knot back in 2018:

“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.”

Our favorite headline to emerge out of this news comes courtesy of the Chicago Tribune.

Speculation is running high about why the couple is making this dramatic move and whether it has to do with a rift between Harry and his brother, Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge. People magazine writes:

Multiple insiders say the chill between the Sussexes and Cambridges runs deeper than many outsiders realize. Today, fallout from the rift that began two years ago with Harry’s engagement to Meghan (sources say William cautioned Harry about moving too fast with the American actress) continues to ripple across the royal family, from seating to staffing to Christmas plans, as Meghan and Harry announced they would not be spending the holiday with the royal family…