Meghan Markle and Prince Harry shocked the world — and the royal family! — on Wednesday, January 8 when they announced they would be stepping back from their royal duties. According to new reports, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex released their statement without running it by Her Majesty The Queen, Prince Charles or Prince William, effectively "blindsiding" them with the news.
"William was blindsided by Harry and Meghan’s decision and statement. There’s still a rift between the two brothers. It’s sad because when they were younger, William would be the first person Harry would go to with big news like this," a source told Us Weekly. "William is incredibly hurt, but at the same time he has his own family to focus on and is trying to move forward with his life," the source added.
The royal family is said to be "deeply disappointed, shocked, saddened and downright furious" at the couple over the controversial move, according to a U.K. outlet. After Meghan and Harry's announcement, Buckingham Palace released a terse statement. "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 though," the statement read.
Meghan and Harry revealed that they plan to become financially independent and split their time between the United Kingdom and North America. Speculation is rampant that they will relocate to Canada after spending their holiday break there. Meghan also lived in Canada while filming her show Suits, and many of her close friends still live there.
"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," the pair wrote on their official Instagram account.
They continued, "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. We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support."
Fans have been quick to place all of the blame on Meghan for deepening the rift between Harry and his family. "Meghan Markle has ruined the royal family," one person wrote on social media. Even Piers Morgan threw in his two cents with a scathing attack on the American actress he once called a friend. "People say I'm too critical of Meghan Markle — but she ditched her family, ditched her Dad, ditched most of her old friends, split Harry from William & has now split him from the royal family. I rest my case," the TV host tweeted.
Do you think Meghan & Harry should have told the royal family before making their announcement? Sound off in the comments below!