Meghan Markle, 39, and Prince Harry, 36, are understood to have blindsided Queen Elizabeth II, 94, and plunged the monarchy into crisis when they suddenly announced their wish to step down as senior royals to the public on January 8 last year.
The couple published a statement outlining their hopes for a royal exit on their Sussex Royal Instagram account.
The bombshell statement, which was not signed off by the Queen, read as follows: “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.”
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The statement added: “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.”
At the same time as publishing the announcement, the couple launched a brand new Sussex Royal website which has since been made defunct.
The couple are fiercely protective of their son Archie’s privacy and are likely to mark one year since Megxit at home in Montecito.
Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland lives nearby in Los Angeles and could spend the special with the family.
On the last day of 2020, Meghan and Harry launched the website for their new non-profit venture Archewell.
The project was due to get off the ground soon after their royal stepdown but was delayed amid the Covid-19 pandemic.