The family stunned royal watchers around the world - not to mention their own family - when they announced their plans on Instagram.
They reportedly sent the statement to Princes Charles and William just minutes before they shared it with their millions of followers.
The decision reportedly left Harry's father and brother "incandescent with rage", while his grandmother the Queen was "deeply upset".
In their statement, Meghan and Harry explained they want to "carve out a progressive new role" within the Royal Family and become "financially independent".
They wrote: "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."
They also thanked fans for their support, adding: "It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment."
They said they planned to split their their time between the UK and North America so they could "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."
In response, the Queen was forced to release a short statement saying discussions were ongoing, warning the couple of "complicated issues".
She said: "Discussions with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage.
"We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through."
After making the announcement Meghan fled to Canada while Harry stayed in the UK to deal with the fallout.
The Queen called an crisis summit between senior members of the family, which saw Charles, William and Harry travel to Sandringham.
The gathering came after numerous meetings between senior royal aides, government chiefs from the UK and Canada and police forces including the Met Police.
Chairing the meeting across a large polished table with room for eight chairs, the Queen and her family set out their vision of how a new version of monarchy would emerge.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's 'Megxit' deal
After weeks of discussions, the Queen and other senior royals have agreed the terms of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry quitting the Royal Family.
This is what has been agreed for 'Megxit':
The couple will officially step back from the roles as senior royals on March 31 They will close their Buckingham Palace office, with their 15 loyal staff reportedly being axed Meghan and Harry will retail their HRH royal titles but will not use them. The same applies to the Duke's military titles They will not use the word 'Royal' in their branding, meaning they will have to rebrand their website and drop their trademark application for Sussex Royal They will return to the UK "regularly", staying at their Windsor home Frogmore Cottage Rather than setting up a foundation as planned, they will create a new non-profit organisation and will continue working with their existing patronages There will be review of their new set up after 12 months.
Over the next two hours they thrashed out the framework of a deal.
Sources close to the negotiations later revealed the family set six main points to be agreed on before real change could take affect - titles, finances, protection, advisors, media plan and where they will live.
Days later, the Queen released a second statement in which she referred to the couple as Meghan and Harry rather than using their titles.
She said: "Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family.
"My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan's desire to create a new life as a young family. Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family.
"Harry and Meghan have made clear that they do not want to be reliant on public funds in their new lives.
"It has therefore been agreed that there will be a period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the UK.
"These are complex matters for my family to resolve, and there is some more work to be done, but I have asked for final decisions to be reached in the coming days."
When the deal was done, Harry flew back to Canada to be reunited with Meghan and baby Archie.
More details of the couple's new lives were announced in the following weeks, including that they would close their Buckingham Palace office and axe their staff, and that the Queen banned them from using the word 'Royal' in their branding and
However Harry and Meghan were said to be disappointed by the strict restrictions placed upon them by the Queen.
Former royal protection officer Ken Wharfe told the Sun: "They'd want to keep that Sussex Royal brand name — they haven't. Without that brand it's going to be much more difficult for their charitable causes because that was their trademark.
"I think they'd want to keep the office at Buckingham Palace as well, which they now don't have. Harry would also have wanted to have kept using the HRH title but he can't. He will be incredibly disappointed with that."
Last month, a full logistical plan was released and Meghan and Harry posted a further 1,114-word statement of their own.
Experts believed it contained a number of digs and complaints, including one at Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.
The statement read: "While there is precedent for other titled members of the Royal Family to seek employment outside of the institution, for The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, a 12-month review period has been put in place."
A royal source said: "It's pretty clear they are referencing minor royals such as Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, which is an odd association to make for two people whose associates were once claiming they had single-handedly modernised the monarchy."
On security, they suggested they would demand round-the-clock protection paid for by the public, owing to, "The Duke's public profile by virtue of being born into The Royal Family, his military service, the Duchess' own independent profile, and the shared threat".
The couple returned to the UK to carry out a farewell tour, visiting a number of their charities and patronages.
Their final royal engagement was Commonwealth Day, when they joined the rest of the Royal Family at Westminster Abbey.
Last week it was reported that Meghan and Harry have left Canada and moved to California, where they now plan to live full-time.
According to the Sun, they made the decision after realising "Canada would not work out for various reasons".
However, people close to the family are "stunned and horrified" they didn't opt to come back to the UK amid the pandemic.
A insider told the newspaper: "We are stunned and horrified. The country is going through a traumatic event at the moment. They have a beautiful cottage in Windsor where they could have based themselves.
"It's just a stone's throw away from where the Queen and Prince Philip are in self-isolation.
"Prince Charles and Prince Andrew are both out of action too for very different reasons. This was an opportunity for them to put country before their own interests. California isn't going anywhere."
Meghan's first post-royal job - a voice over gig on Disney's new film Elephant - was also officially announced.
Yesterday, Meghan and Harry said their public goodbyes and shared their final Instagram post.
They used their final message, which they signed "Meghan and Harry" rather than using their official titles, to speak about the difficult times we're currently in as the world battles coronavirus Covid-19.
They wrote: "As we can all feel, the world at this moment seems extraordinarily fragile. Yet we are confident that every human being has the potential and opportunity to make a difference—as seen now across the globe, in our families, our communities and those on the front line—together we can lift each other up to realise the fullness of that promise.
"What's most important right now is the health and wellbeing of everyone across the globe and finding solutions for the many issues that have presented themselves as a result of this pandemic.
"As we all find the part we are to play in this global shift and changing of habits, we are focusing this new chapter to understand how we can best contribute.
"While you may not see us here, the work continues.
"Thank you to this community - for the support, the inspiration and the shared commitment to the good in the world. We look forward to reconnecting with you soon. You've been great!
"Until then, please take good care of yourselves, and of one another.
"Harry and Meghan."
It's been a year, 10 months and 12 days since Meghan Markle and Prince Harry shared a kiss on the steps of St George's Chapel and became the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
The first year was a whirlwind, with the couple heading off on their first major Royal Tour, moving into their newly renovated home Frogmore Cottage and welcoming their first child Archie.
The couple's modern and relaxed approach to royal life was a complete change for aides, the media and fans, and while some loved their new way of doing things it didn't sit well with those fond of the traditional methods.
But things weren't rosy behind closed doors, with reports of upset staff, family fallouts and anger at media coverage.
On January 8, after "many months of reflection and internal discussions", the couple decided enough was enough and threw in the towel as members of the Royal Family.