Christians sympathetic as Harry and Meghan step back as 'senior' Royals

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will split their time between the UK and North AmericaREUTERS/Hannah McKay

Christians have been voicing their sympathy for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on Twitter today after they confirmed that they are stepping back as "senior" members of the Royal Family.

In an announcement, the couple said they had reached their decision "after many months of reflection and internal discussions". 

They plan to split their time between the UK and North America, "continuing to honour our duty to the Queen, the Commonwealth and our patronages," and have said their goal is to become "financially independent". 

"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. 

"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.

"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." 

In a statement, a spokesperson for Buckingham Palace said there were "complicated" issues to resolve.

"Discussions with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage," the spokesperson said. 

"We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through."

Krish Kandiah, founder of Christian charity Home for Good, expressed disappointment with the "strangely judgemental tone to the reporting on Harry and Meghan". 

"I feel pretty supportive and sympathetic to their decision," he said. 

In response, Lucy Rycroft, author of Redeeming Advent, called the Sussexes "great role models" for putting the wellbeing of their family before royal duties.

"You have to put your family first, whoever you are. So many royals have put duty before family in the past...and at what cost?" she said.

"I applaud [Harry and Meghan] for choosing what is best for them and their son. And they're taking control of their mental health too. Great role models." 

Graham Miller, CEO of London City Mission, said their decision seemed "very wise". 

"Unless the Royal Family is a cult, young people in the family must have a choice about whether to join in its rituals. Harry & Meghan have been under immense pressure," he said.

"It seems very wise for them to take a step back." 

Bryony Taylor, author of 'More TV Vicar?', was also supportive of them making the move in the interests of their family and mental health.

"I totally don't blame Harry and Meghan," she tweeted. "Might have done it a bit clumsily but they have their son and mental health to think of." 

Blogger and commentator Dr Adrian Hilton wrote: "This is the boldest attempt to forge a via media since 1534. Good luck to them."