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Harry And Meghan To Remain At Frogmore Cottage

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex plan to base themselves at their Frogmore Cottage home on the Windsor Estate when in the UK.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex made the shock announcement they would take a "step back" from being senior members of the Royal Family on Thursday,

The couple claimed they had spent "many months" discussing and reflecting on the issue in the announcement on Instagram.

"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," the couple announced alongside a picture of the pair walking hand in hand.

"It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment.

"We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages."

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have shocked the world by announcing they would be 'stepping back' from their royal duties.

Buckingham Palace released a statement of their own shortly after, claiming the discussions 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," it read.

Kensington Palace has remained silent on the announcement, but posted a photo of the Duchess of Cambridge on Instagram to thank the public for birthday messages sent to Katherine.

The Sussex Royal account commented on the post saying "wishing a very happy birthday to The Duchess of Cambridge today!".

Their new website sussexroyal.com says Harry and Meghan moved to Windsor for "various reasons", and mentioned the fact that their previous residence of Nottingham Cottage on the grounds of Kensington Palace "could not accommodate their growing family".

Image taken from Google Earth of Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor Estate. Image: Google/PA Wire

The website points out that the option of Apartment 1 in Kensington Palace was estimated to cost in excess of 4 million pounds for mandated renovations including the removal of asbestos, and would not have been available for them to occupy until the fourth quarter of 2020.

"As a result, Her Majesty The Queen offered the Duke and Duchess the use of Frogmore Cottage, which was already undergoing mandated renovations, and would be available to move in before the birth of their son.

"The refurbishment cost equated to 50% of the originally suggested property for their proposed official residence at Kensington Palace.

"It is for these reasons, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex chose Frogmore Cottage as their official residence," the website says.

Graphic locates Frogmore Cottage. See story ROYAL Sussex. Image: PA Graphics

Crucially, the website points out that Frogmore Cottage is owned by the Queen, therefore it will be up to her whether they will be permitted to use it as their UK home going forward.

The website says: "Frogmore Cottage will continue to be the property of Her Majesty the Queen.

"The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will continue to use Frogmore Cottage - with the permission of Her Majesty The Queen - as their official residence as they continue to support the monarchy, and so that their family will always have a place to call home in the United Kingdom."

A source close to the Royals told the BBC no other royal was consulted before Harry and Meghan shared their news on Instagram.

According to  BBC royal correspondent Jonny Dymond the Royal Family was "blindsided" and "hurt" by the lack of consultation before the announcement.

Buckingham Palace issued a statement shortly after Harry and Meghan, noting while they understood the Duke and Duchess's position, it was a complicated process

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Harry and Meghan -- who lived in Canada when she worked as an actress on the TV-drama Suits -- said the "geographic balance" would allow their infant son Archie to grow up with an understanding of his royal heritage while giving the notoriously private family space.

The couple will be launching a new charity as part of their "new, progressive role" in the monarchy, and will "continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties".

The announcement comes shortly after the new family returned to the UK from a six-week holiday to Canada, where they spent Christmas in a multi-million dollar home in Vancouver Island.

Upon their return, Harry and Meghan visited Canada House to "thank" the nation for their hospitality.

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With AAP.