Queen Elizabeth II has responded to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to “step back” as senior members of the royal family, Fox News has learned on Monday. She also said she has agreed to allow the couple to move part-time to Canada.
“Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family,” the reigning monarch shared in a statement. “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.
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“Harry and Meghan have made clear that they do not want to be reliant on public funds in their new lives,” the 93-year-old continued. “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.”
The queen says there are still issues to be resolved but she wants it done within days.
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Elizabeth had called for a face-to-face meeting with Harry, 35, and other members of the royal family in order to iron out logistics of his and Markle’s decision to become “financially independent” of the crown.
The meetup marked the first time the queen and her grandson met following the shocking announcement on social media last week. It reflected the queen’s desire to contain the fallout from Harry and Meghan’s decision. A palace insider previously told Fox News some members of the royal family were not informed of the couple’s announcement before it was made to the world.
Harry’s father Prince Charles, as well as his older brother William, were reportedly in attendance at the monarch’s private Sandringham estate in eastern England. Markle, 38, is in Canada with the couple’s son Archie. She likely joined the meeting by phone.
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The meeting comes after days of intense news coverage, in which supporters of the royal family’s feuding factions used the British media to paint conflicting pictures of who was to blame for the rift.
The royal brothers even issued a rare joint statement denying media claims that William is to blame for the couple’s move to split their time between the United Kingdom and North America.
The goal of the meeting is to agree on next steps, which followed days of talks among royal courtiers and officials from the U.K. and Canada. Buckingham Palace previously stressed that “any decision will take time to be implemented.”
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Last week, Duke and Duchess of Sussex shared on social media that their decision came “after many months of reflection and internal discussions.”
“We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honor our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages,” they continued. “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 couple added they will continue to work with the reigning monarch, 93, as well as Charles, 71, and William, 37.
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“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.”
They will keep their royal titles.
Following the couple’s announcement, Buckingham Palace responded to the shocking news with their own statement.
“Discussions with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage,” a palace spokesman told Fox News at the time. “We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.”
The spokesman added that “nothing is being ruled or ruled out.”
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In October 2019, the couple opened up to host Tom Bradby in ITV’s documentary “Harry & Meghan: An African Journey,” which aired in both the U.K. and U.S.
While the special aimed to give audiences a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the couple’s recent royal tour of southern African, the couple also spoke out about enduring ruthless tabloid rumors as new parents.
Markle, 38, and Harry welcomed a son named Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor in May 2019. The baby’s arrival came a year after the couple tied the knot in a televised royal ceremony in May 2018.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.