Friends have rallied around the Duke and Duchess of Sussex after their shock decision to step down as senior members of the royal family.

Prince Harry and Meghan made the announcement on their Instagram account yesterday, saying after months of careful reflection they now wished to split their time between the United Kingdom and North America and would work to become financially independent.

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

The move has reportedly "hurt" the royal family, who were "blindsided" by the decision, according to the BBC's royal correspondent Jonny Dymond.

Advertisement

It's also incensed some of the couple's harshest critics, including conservative commentator Piers Morgan who accused the young royals of "spiteful treachery" against their own family.

"I've seen some disgraceful royal antics in my time, but for pure arrogance, entitlement, greed, and wilful disrespect, nothing has ever quite matched the behaviour of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex," he wrote in a column for the Daily Mail.

But others, including some of Harry and Meghan's closest friends, have come to their defence online.

"And that folks, is what power looks like," actor Jameela Jamil, who featured as one of Meghan's 'Forces for Change' in her guest-edited issue of Vogue last year, tweeted after the announcement.

Actor Jameela Jamil defended the duchess as she faced backlash online photo / 123RF
Actor Jameela Jamil defended the duchess as she faced backlash online photo / 123RF

When Morgan continued to attack the Duchess on Twitter, Jamil responded: "All of this crying really because she ditched you … you're a grown man. You're acting like she's broken up your family".


"Are you OK mate? Everything alright at home? You're being very emotional about all of this," she said.

Meghan's close friend Jessica Mulroney, who attended the royal wedding in 2018, also appeared to post a subtle message to critics on Instagram.

"A strong woman looks a challenge in the eye and gives it a wink," she posted.

Advertisement

Mulroney also used Instagram to defend Meghan as she faced backlash over her frequent use of private jets in August last year.

"Three years of undeserved hate and abuse. It's enough," she wrote at the time.

"When someone faces unfair criticism, you call it out. When that person is your friend and your family, you call those critics what they truly are. Shame on you, you racist bullies."


'WE ALL KNOW STUFF HAPPENS'

Before the Duke and Duchess of Sussex dropped their bombshell on Wednesday, ITV news anchor Tom Bradby told Good Morning Britain the rift between Prince Harry and Prince William did not appear to be healing.

The couple say they are prepared to make this adjustment photo / file
The couple say they are prepared to make this adjustment photo / file

"There are lots of people who would love there to be, including I think the brothers themselves, love them to be closer again. And with any luck, that will happen," he said.

"But with families, we all know stuff happens, things are said.

"You are working in a big family firm, everyone has their wishes and desires and ambitions and they have to be balanced up and it's very hard."

Bradby, who is a friend of Prince Harry's, interviewed the couple on their now infamous royal tour of southern Africa last year.

It was on his documentary, Harry and Meghan: An African Journey, that Harry first confirmed the rift with his brother.

"We're brothers, we'll always be brothers — and we're certainly on different paths at the moment. But I'll certainly always be there for him as I know he'll always be there for me," he said.

"We don't see each other as much as we used to because we're so busy. But I love him dearly and the majority of the stuff is created out of nothing. But as brothers, you have good days, you have bad days."