Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have officially announced Wednesday that they are “stepping back” as senior royals.

“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 said on their Royal Instagram account. “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 Duke and Duchess of Sussex said they will also split time between the U.K. and North America.

“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 royals added in the caption.

“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,” the duke and duchess said, before signing off. “Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.”

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“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. 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.” – The Duke and Duchess of Sussex For more information, please visit sussexroyal.com (link in bio) Image © PA

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The shocking announcement comes just one day after the royal couple returned from a six-week royal sabbatical in Canada.

The Sunday Times first reported in April that Harry and Meghan were looking to live elsewhere and were thinking about Africa and Canada.

“Any future plans for The Duke and Duchess are speculative at this stage. No decisions have been taken about future roles,” the palace said last April. “The Duke will continue to fulfill his role as Commonwealth Youth Ambassador.”

Later on Prince Harry shut down reports that the couple were considering moving to Africa.

“I don’t know where we could live in Africa at the moment,” Harry told journalist Tom Bradby. “We’ve just come from Cape Town; that would be an amazing place for us to be able to base ourselves, of course it would. But with all the problems that are going on there, I just don’t see how we would be able to really make as much difference as we want to without the issues and the judgment of how we would be with those surroundings.”

Harry went on to say “it’s a very hard place to live when you know what’s going on but then you’re sort of slightly disconnected from it. So, the rest of our lives, our life’s work will be predominately focused on Africa, on conservation.”

“There are 19 Commonwealth countries across this continent so there’s a lot of things to be done, there’s a lot of problems here, but there’s also huge potential,” he said.