UPDATED 1/18, 2:15 p.m. ET:  Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will no longer use the titles "His and Her Royal Highness," CNN reports

"Following many months of conversations and more recent discussions, I am pleased that together we have found a constructive and supportive way forward for my grandson and his family," Queen Elizabeth II said in an official statement. Harry and Meghan will also repay the British taxpayers $3 million.

"Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family," the Queen added. "I recognize the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life."

UPDATED 1/13, 12:15 p.m. ET: Queen Elizabeth released an official statement following the announcement that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle plan to step back from the royal family. 

“My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family," she said. "Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working Members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family."

See original story below.

 

In a surprising announcement, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle revealed their plans to "step back as senior members of the Royal Family." 

The couple said that they will "work to become financially independent," from the Royal Fanily and will continue to "fully support Her Majesty the Queen." As part of this transition, the couple will no longer spend the majority of their time in the United Kingdom. The news comes shortly after Meghan and Harry spent their Christmas on Vancouver Island with their 8-month-old son Archie instead with the rest of the Royal Family.

"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 couple revealed on Instagram. "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."

In a statement from the Queen's office, it was revealed that the couple did not tell the rest of the Royal Family about this decision prior to the announcement.

It's not clear to what extent they will be "stepping back," but the news was met with little surprise after the couple was routinely harassed by British tabloids. Read their full statement above, and check out what people had to say about the drastic move below.

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