9 Jan 2020

Royals 'step back' from royalty: How the world responded

12:42 pm on 9 January 2020

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex Harry and Meghan's announcement they would step back as senior royals has divided social media.

Britain's Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan hold their baby son Archie as they meet with Archbishop Desmond Tutu (unseen) at the Tutu Legacy Foundation  in Cape Town on September 25, 2019.

Britain's Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan hold their baby son Archie. Photo: AFP

The couple released a statement today saying they planned to work to become financially independent, and "carve out a progressive new role within this institution".

View this post on Instagram

“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

A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal) on

Many were supportive of the couple's move, saying it was their chance to forge their own future, away from the prying eyes of British tabloid media and the influence of the royal family.

The BBC has reported no other royal was consulted before the statement, and has also reported that Buckingham Palace was "disappointed".

Some from the British media fraternity continued to criticise the couple.

A few reactions were less critical of the move itself, but had something to say about the way it was carried out.

Others drew comparisons with the family's handling of the Jeffrey Epstein scandal.

While the tweeters were at odds, the media took the opportunity to craft some headlines.

The Chicago Tribune welcomed the return of a treasured expat with a cleverly understated take on the decision.

Another media outfit AJ+ made a point of putting the Duchess first and foremost.

And The Sun demonstrated its own typical brand in large font.

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