LONDON: Prince Harry and his wife Meghan will step back as senior members of the royal family and spend more time in North America, the couple said on Wednesday.
"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," they said in a statement released by Buckingham Palace.
Harry and Meghan are known by their formal titles the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
"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," the statement added.
The two spent Christmas in Canada after speaking of the pressure of being in the spotlight following their fairy tale wedding at Windsor Castle in 2018 and son Archie's birth in May.
They had previously announced they would miss Christmas with the Queen and the rest of the royal family at the family's Sandringham estate in eastern England, choosing to spend it instead with the duchess' mother, Doria Ragland.
Harry, who is sixth in line to the throne and the younger son of heir apparent Prince Charles and his late wife Diana, said in October that he and his older brother Prince William were on "different paths" and admitted tension in their relationship.
We don't see each other as much as we used to because we are so busy but I love him dearly," he said in an ITV television interview.
Former actress Meghan, previously famous for her role in the hit US television legal drama 'Suits', also admitted that it had been a "struggle" becoming a mother while living under an intense media spotlight.
There have been rumours of differences with William's wife Kate, and she said her British friends had warned her not to marry Harry.
"The British tabloids will destroy your life," she said they told her.
Asked in the ITV interview if she was "not really OK" and life had "really been a struggle", she replied simply: "Yes."
The couple recently launched legal action against British tabloid The Mail on Sunday for alleged invasion of privacy over a letter from the duchess to her father. It came with a stinging statement from Harry about general tabloid coverage (with inputs from agencies).
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