A LOCAL MSP has said most people will understand and support the decision of the Earl and Countess of Dumbarton to “step back” as senior members of the royal family.

In a shock statement, Harry and Meghan said they will work to become financially independent, while continuing to “fully support” the Queen. They will now divide their time between the UK and North America.

Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton MSP, told the Reporter: “Both Harry and Meghan are a modern family. I understand and respect why this young family, with a young child, have a desire for more privacy that would not normally be afforded to remaining a key part of the royal family.

“They deserve support at what is a difficult time for them and our encouragement for doing something which is quite modern and radical.

“The press pressure on both, but especially Meghan, has been enormous and I am sure most of us would respect why they want a degree of privacy to get on with their lives.

“The people of Dumbarton welcome that Prince Harry and Megan are the Earl and Countess of Dumbarton. The majority of people I know think they are great people and there will always be a warm welcome from them in the town when they visit.

“At the end of the day the fact they want to become more financially self-sustaining is a positive thing too. I hope going forward the press will allow them the privacy they seek.”

The couple’s move follows weeks of speculation about their future after they took an extended break from royal duties over the festive period that followed an emotional appearance in a documentary.

In the ITV programme they spoke about the pressures they have been facing and family rifts, and in a separate move Harry issued a damning statement against the media accusing sections of the press of bullying his wife.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex said in their statement: “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.”

Harry and Meghan have recently returned from their six-week break spent in the Canadian province of British Columbia with their eight-month-old son Archie.

It is likely they will be spending their time in the Commonwealth country when not in UK and may travel to America, Meghan’s homeland and where her mother lives.

Any move to Canada, even for a period of the year, would throw up important questions about Meghan and Harry’s long-term future within the royal family.

The cost of security for the couple would be an issue, and as Canada is a realm, a country where the Queen is head of state, it may have to pay for keeping the couple and their son Archie safe.

The couple’s aim to be “financially independent” may point towards them seeking a job, or a paid role with an organisation whose aims compliment their own beliefs.

Other members of the monarchy who have salaried jobs include the Queen’s grandchildren Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and Peter Phillips, who all work for a living.