Prince William, Kate Middleton Reportedly 'Blindsided' by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Announcement

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's announcement to step back from their royal duties reportedly came as a shock to the rest of the Royal Family. Prince William and Kate Middleton were reportedly "blindsided" by the Sussexes' decision and statement, a source told Us Weekly. After reports surfaced in 2018 that Harry and William's relationship was strained following Harry and Markle's move from Nottingham Cottage in London to Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, fans of the royal family began to wonder how the rift would affect them in the long run.

"There's still a rift between the two brothers," the source said on Wednesday. "It's sad because when they were younger, William would be the first person Harry would go to with big news like this."

"William is incredibly hurt," the source added, "but at the same time he has his own family to focus on and is trying to move forward with his life."

William and Middleton, both 37, weren't the only ones left out of the loop; royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams told the publication that the "other royals didn't know of the statement," either.

"This is really extraordinary. It's totally irresponsible," Fitzwilliams said.

As previously reported, Harry, 35, and Markle, 38, announced Wednesday that their royal duties in 2020 would look different from years prior and that they'd be splitting their time between the U.K. and North America.

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"We have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution," the joint statement read. "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. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment."

They went on to say that they "plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honor our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages."

They claimed the "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."

Buckingham Palace, headed by Harry's grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, released a statement in response to his and Markle's announcement, saying that they were still in "early stage" discussions with the pair.

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

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