At 6.33pm on January 8, 2020, a post appeared on their SussexRoyal Instagram account that would send shockwaves around the world.
It was a picture taken two years earlier of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex smiling and holding hands as they posed at Kensington Palace after announcing their engagement.
Looking smitten with his bride-to-be at the outside photocall, Harry had said he was "thrilled".
But the 195-word message that accompanied this picture on Instagram would not express the same joy.
It began: “After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution.
"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.
"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."
The statement continued: "We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.”
The pair signed the message off "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex".
The post has since had almost 2million likes.
Buckingham Palace reacted quickly, warning publicly that the decision was complicated.
"Discussions with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage," a spokesman said.
"We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through."
Ten days later, the Queen released a statement which read: "Following many months of conversations and more recent discussions, I am pleased that together we have found a constructive and supportive way forward for my grandson and his family.
"Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family.
"I recognise the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life.
"I want to thank them for all their dedicated work across this country, the Commonwealth and beyond, and am particularly proud of how Meghan has so quickly become one of the family.
"It is my whole family’s hope that today’s agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life."