The British monarchy has lasted for over a millennium, with the royal family tree stretching all the way back to Alfred the Great of the early 9th century.
And now, with the opening of the year 2020, a prominent royal couple is looking to take a break from the crown.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced plans to relinquish their royal duties in an Instagram post released on Wednesday, January 8.
The couple has decided not only to step down as senior royals, but also to stop receiving money from the Sovereign Grant -- public money that goes towards royal expenses -- and be financially independent.
The British royal family was shocked to learn the news as they were not notified of the decision beforehand.
According to two sources with connections to the royal family, this sudden reveal was in part due to the fact that a tabloid called the Sun had obtained information regarding the decision. Upon finding out, Meghan and Prince Harry felt pressure to give the news themselves before the story could be released through the media.
However, the reasons behind this sudden separation could also be personal. Last year, a paper called the Mail on Sunday had published one of Meghan’s private letters, to which she began legal action over the claim of unlawful publication. She also stated, in a documentary, that she was having trouble as a mother because of intense scrutiny from the press. Prince Harry as well is known to dislike tabloids. Further, he opposes his older brother, Prince William, which may be yet another cause for the withdrawal from the royal family.
On Saturday, after the royal family met, Buckingham Palace announced the terms of separation.
Harry and Meghan would no longer be working members of the British monarchy nor attend any ceremonial events. They will also no longer be addressed as "Royal Highness" or use their HRH titles. Harry will remain a prince. While the couple will still use their cottage at Windsor as their home, they will have to repay the $2.4 million pounds of taxpayer money used to remodel the place.
It will be a new beginning for Harry and Meghan, who plan to split their time between Canada and the U.K with their baby, Archie.
Sources: BBC, NYTimes