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Meghan Markle & Prince Harry Sent A Sweet Birthday Message To Kate Middleton

The royal family might be in a bit of a state right about now, but that doesn't mean they can't take a time out to celebrate someone special. That appears to be the way Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are looking at things, at any rate. On Thursday, Prince Harry and Markle wished Kate Middleton a happy birthday amid the big news that they're stepping down as senior royal members.

The Duchess of Cambridge turned 38 on Jan. 9, and the mother of three was celebrated on the Kensington Palace social media page. She reportedly already enjoyed a bit of a birthday bash at Anmer Hall, her country home in Norfolk County, over the weekend with friends and family. Although two members of the royal family were apparently missing from the festivities — her brother-in-law Prince Harry and Markle.

While their absence might have gotten the rumor mill buzzing on some level, it has most certainly been eclipsed by the recent announcement from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex that they are planning to become "financially independent" from the Queen and back away from their roles as senior members of the royal family. That doesn't necessarily mean they plan to relinquish their roles as actual family members, however, and their recent message to Middleton on her birthday appears to solidify that bond.

The couple posted a message on Instagram via their Sussex Royal social media feed, writing: "Wishing a very happy birthday to The Duchess of Cambridge today!"

They included birthday cake and heart emojis with their post, of course, taking what could have been a very formal message and making it more personal. Neither Prince William nor Kate Middleton have spoken publicly about the Sussexes' plan to step away from their royal duties, although Buckingham Palace did deliver a rare comment about the subject on Wednesday afternoon. The brief statement on the Royal Family website read, "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."

Middleton was seen driving to Buckingham Palace on Thursday morning looking terribly somber, and I for one am hoping they were hosting a surprise party for her instead of hosting some sort of strategy meeting about how to deal with Markle and Prince Harry leaving the royal family.

Whatever the fallout might be from their decision, I like to think Prince Harry and Markle will always make a special effort to stay close to the Cambridge family. After all, they have a niece and two nephews who are cousins to their 8-month-old son Archie. And let's face it, if Markle and Prince Harry end up moving to North America part of the time, as they have said they hope to do, it will give them all the opportunity to hang out away from the spotlight. To potentially bond as siblings and parents and friends.

Who knows, this could be the secret message the Sussexes are conveying in Kate Middleton's birthday note. Read between the emojis.