Harry and Meghan quit roles, shocking royals
Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan say they're stepping back from their royal roles and will split their time between the UK and North America. It came as a shock for the royal family -- a royal source saying they're "hurt and disappointed". The couple announced their intentions on social media late Wednesday, taking Queen Elizabeth and Harry's father Prince Charles -- who weren't consulted -- by surprise. Buckingham Palace's consternation came across in a rare, outspoken statement. The family understood their desire to take a different approach, it said, but "these are complicated issues that will take time to work through". Harry and Meghan were feted as symbols of a more modern monarchy when they married in May 2018. Meghan is a former actress with an African-American mother. They had a baby, Archie, last year. Now, the couple say they want to work to become financially independent and set up a new charity. But they'll retain some royal duties. How does that work? No one knows, because this bombshell is without precedent -- royal biographers say it amounts to their becoming "half royal". And everyone's asking who pays for their transatlantic lifestyles, and the huge security set-up they'll need on both sides of the Atlantic. The couple's lifestyles have already received negative publicity -- especially the use of private jets while promoting environmental causes... And then there was the costly refurb -- about 3 million dollars -- of their new home, at the taxpayer's expense. The British media has given Meghan a rough ride, which Harry describes as bullying, drawing parallels with the experience of his mother Princess Diana, who was killed in a car crash in 1997 as her car sped away from the paparazzi. These are grim times for the family sometimes known as "the firm" after the Queen's son, Prince Andrew, was removed from public duties over his association with high-profile child sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, to use their titles, cast the coming break as an exciting new step. But if Thursday's reaction was anything to go by, their hopes of curbing the intense scrutiny they're under may be frustrated.