(The Duke and Duchess of Sussex/Instagram)

In a social media statement that has shocked Royal family fans everywhere – and apparently other members of the Royal family too – Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have announced their decision to “take a step back” from their roles.

“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,” reads the statement.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced that they intend to divide their time between the United Kingdom and North America.

They state that the “geographic balance” will allow them to raise their son, Archie, with an appreciation for royal family traditions while also giving the nuclear family unit some space “to focus on the next chapter”.

“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,” they write.

Their message has been circulating amongst Victoria residents in particular due to the couple’s recent Christmas vacation on Vancouver Island.

A photo shared on the @sussexroyal Instagram page showing Prince Harry holding baby Archie against a backdrop of clear blue waters sent Islanders into a frenzy last week as people tried to guess where it was taken.

Meanwhile, Buckingham Palace has responded to this announcement with the following statement:

“Discussions with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are 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.”

Basically, it sounds like the royal family is overdue for one messy conversation…