The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's decision to step back from their roles as senior members of the royal family came as a seismic shock both inside and outside the Palace. Prince Harry and Meghan's personal statement has raised many questions about what will happen next.
There is sympathy for the couple, who have clearly struggled with their life in the spotlight over the past year, but also shock among senior members of the royal family, who had been willing to help them work out their new arrangement and for whom the statement came as a "bolt from the blue".
FULL STORY: Harry and Meghan step away from royal duties
WATCH: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle step back - explainer
Buckingham Palace's own carefully-worded response confirmed that members of the royal family had been kept in the dark about their announcement, with sources later saying that other members of the royal family were "deeply hurt" by the timing and the manner in which it was delivered.
Although the family had been made aware of the Sussexes' decision over Christmas, the expectation was that there would be discussions, meetings and more "meat on the bone" before it was made public.
Judging by the lengthy Q&A on their website, they have clearly spent a great deal of time considering it during their break. But senior courtiers say that although Harry and Meghan have presented how they perceive their new life might work, it's not a done deal. As the Palace statement says: "These are complicated issues that will take time to work through."
MORE: Did Prince Harry and Meghan Markle hint at their surprise decision the day before it was announced?
Harry and Meghan at Canada House on Wednesday
How the Duke and Duchess might continue their public work while earning money commercially is a particularly tricky area, with one senior source telling me: "The royal family are famous, they are not celebrities. They try to use their fame not for their personal benefit, but for the promotion of their causes and charities."
Previous attempts to do so by the Earl and Countess of Wessex proved unsuccessful, while the Duke of York has also faced criticism over his business dealings. The impact of Harry and Meghan's decision on the wider royal family, their patronages, and their staff remains to be seen and it will take some time for the dust to settle after this explosive start to the New Year.
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