Prince Harry, Meghan Markle stepping back as 'senior' royals, will spend more time in North America

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle stepping back as 'senior' royals, will spend more time in North America

UPDATE: At 3:18 PM EST, Buckingham Palace released a statement saying discussions with the royals were "at an early stage."

"We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through."

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced on Wednesday afternoon that they are taking a step back from public life as "senior" members 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 shared on Instagram. "It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment."

Meghan and Harry also wrote that they will be balancing their time between the United Kingdom and North America while raising baby Archie.

"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 couple continued.

"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 announcement comes after months of increased media scrutiny on the family. Following their high-profile 10-day tour of Africa, the couple announced that they would embark on a six-week sabbatical with Archie, 7 months, the bulk of which was spent in Canada.