Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, say they are stepping back from their roles as senior members of the British royal family and plan to work towards becoming "financially independent," the couple announced on Wednesday.
"After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year" they wrote on Instagram, explaining that they hope 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," they said.
Harry and Meghan did not consult any other members of the royal family about their decision, CNN has learned.
There is said to be a mood of deep disappointment in the palace following the announcement; senior members of the family are hurt as a result of the news.
In a statement issued just hours after the couple's Instagram post, Buckingham Palace said the situation was "complicated."
"Discussions with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage," the unsigned Royal Communications statement said. "We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through."
In their social media post, the couple revealed they plan to split their time between the UK and North America.
"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," they wrote.
"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 have long had a fraught relationship with sections of the British media. In October last year, the couple announced that Meghan was suing the Mail on Sunday newspaper, alleging it had illegally published a private letter to her father -- a claim the newspaper denies.
The couple feel that they can win these court cases on the basis that they do have a right to a private life.
Members of the royal family are often criticized for not allowing enough public access, given that they are publicly funded, and now the Duke and Duchess are effectively saying, "Okay, you win, we're out."