Prince Harry and Meghan Markle just announced plans to “step back as senior members of the Royal Family,” in 2020. As part of this radical yet necessary move, the couple will be diving their time between the U.K. and North America.

“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 Duke and Duchess of Sussex wrote in a statement shared on the Sussex Royal website and Instagram page. “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.

The statement also explains their decision to split time between the United States and the U.K. “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 controversial yet seemingly necessary decision comes after a year of relentless harassment from the British press. Markle has been the subject of countless negatives headlines from media outlets. Back in October, Prince Harry announced that the family is suing Associated Newspapers—owners of Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday for publishing a very personal letter Markle sent to her estranged father, Thomas Markle.

In an interview with ITV Tom Bradby, Markle admitted to feeling the stressed by all of the media attention and criticism she revealed while pregnant with their son, Archie. “Any woman, especially when they’re pregnant, you’re really vulnerable, and so that was made really challenging,” she told host Tom Bradby. “And then when you have a newborn, you know. And especially as a woman, it’s a lot. So you add this on top of just trying to be a new mom or trying to be a newlywed.”

Clearly, some distance has seemed to do the couple good. This year, the family of three chose to spend their Christmas break on Vancouver Island instead of joining the annual royal festivities at Sandringham. “This decision is in line with precedent set previously by other members of the Royal Family, and has the support of Her Majesty The Queen,” read the statement on their decision.”

Kudos to the royals on making major (and independent) moves this year!

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