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What Is A "Senior" Royal? Here's What Meghan & Harry Stepping Back Really Means

With news that Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan are taking a step back from their royal duties, so many questions are swirling. For instance, what is a "senior" royal? It's the term Meghan and Harry used in their super shocking announcement, and it made some fans think they were completely ditching royalty. Well, now I'm spilling the tea on what it actually means.

Meghan and Harry revealed their plans to "step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent," via Instagram on Wednesday, Jan. 8. While, to some, it seemed like that was their way of forgoing their royal duties altogether, they went on to explain that they will continue "to fully support Her Majesty The Queen" and "honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages."

"Senior royal" hasn't really been formally defined by the British royal family, but it seems to refer to the adult members of the monarch and their spouses who are high up in the line of succession. Senior royals work full-time, attending engagements and fulfilling duties in the Queen's name. Long story short, Meghan and Harry will still be royals, they just plan to pursue opportunities outside the monarch more in the future.

With Meghan and Harry stepping back, the current roster of senior royals seems to include the Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Camilla, and Prince William and Duchess Kate. Harry is currently No. 6 in the line of succession, and that probably won't change as a result of his plans to take a step back.

On the Sussex Royal official website, Meghan and Harry noted they "will continue to reflect their sense of duty and allegiance to The Monarch and her legacy in the world, as they transition into the new working model."

Meghan and Harry will presumably take a step back from doing quite so many public appearances for the Queen, and focus on their other projects — not unlike other members of the royal family who do their own thing, like Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie, and Zara Tindall.

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While Meghan and Harry will continue their philanthropic work, it's unclear if they will lose their titles of Duke and Duchess of Sussex after giving up their senior royal roles.

“Nothing has been ruled in or out, it’s too early to say, but it is hard to have an HRH title while working on a commercial basis if that’s what they plan to do," a source told Vanity Fair. Buckingham and Kensington Palace did not respond to Elite Daily's previous request for comment on Vanity Fair's report.

While royal fans wait to find out what's next for Harry and Meghan, at least there is some clarity now on what, exactly, a "senior royal" is.