This move prompted Buckingham Palace to release a statement saying that they “understand” the couple’s decision but “these are complicated issues which will take time to work through”.
Despite the surprise, this isn’t the first time a member of the Royal Family has decided to step away from their duties.
Here’s what happened next for the royals who decided to opt out of the Royal way of life.
READ MORE: What’s next for Harry and Meghan?
Princess Diana’s divorce from Prince Charles in 1996 left her without an official title (she was known as Diana, Princess of Wales instead of her royal highness) and without some of the royal jewels she’d amassed during her marriage.
With a move that echoes Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s, Princess Diana was allowed to keep her apartment at Kensington Palace.
During a 2007 inquest into her death, Deputy Coroner of the Queen's Household Baroness Butler-Sloss said, “I am satisfied that at her death, Diana Princess of Wales continued to be considered as a member of the Royal Household.”
She continued to dedicate her life to charity work, with a focus on Africa, footsteps in which both Prince Harry and Prince William have followed.
Sarah Ferguson, Duchess Of York
In an interview with Harpers Bazaar, she said that although they separated in 1992, they didn’t get a divorce until 1996 because she “wanted to go and get a job”.
Much like Harry and Meghan, members of the royal family aren’t permitted to get jobs outside of their royal duties.
She went on to stay close friends with Prince Andrew as they raised Beatrice and Eugenie.
Now, Sarah Ferguson runs numerous businesses, attends charity (with a particular focus on children’s charities) and business events and has even written books.
She still dips in and out of royal events but without the pressure of royal duties.
The Duke Of York Prince Andrew
The Duke Of York stepped away from Royal duties in November 2019 after the Jeffrey Epstein scandal became a “major disruption” for the Royal Family.
The 59-year-old asked the Queen for permission to withdraw for the “foreseeable future” which she granted.
His life post-Royal duties has been unlike the experiences other Royals have had when stepping away. This is mainly because of the scandal surrounding his choice to step down.
Since his decision, the likes of BT and Barclays who had previous links to him, have joined universities and charities in distancing themselves.
King Edward VIII
King Edward VIII’s decision to abdicate in 1936 set in motion a chain of events that made way for the Royal Family as we know it.
His brother, George VI, took over and in turn his daughter, Princess Elizabeth, became Queen.
Edward’s desire to marry a divorced American woman, Wallis Simpson, led him to abdicate the throne and live the rest of his life in retirement in France.
He became known as Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor and continued to live a life of luxury with an allowance from the Royal Family until he died in 1972.