Queen Elizabeth II says that she and the royal family had “very constructive discussions” on Monday regarding the future of her grandson Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, after their bombshell announcement last week that they would be stepping back from royal duties, working to become financially independent and splitting their time between the United Kingdom and North America.
“My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family,” the 93-year-old monarch’s statement said, expressing her wish to resolve the matter “in the coming days.”
“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 remaining a valued part of my family,” it added.
The queen, who had not been notified of the couple’s seismic decision in advance and was said to be “hurt,” did not refer to them by their titles, the duke and duchess of Sussex, but simply by their first names and the “Sussexes.”
Despite her statement of support, the monarch still sounded disappointed.
“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,” she added, confirming speculation that Harry and Meghan will return to the Commonwealth country that had been home to Meghan while she was working as an actress.
The couple spent some of their six-week break in Canada over the holidays with their baby son, Archie. Meghan, who has endured intense media scrutiny since she began dating the prince, is believed to have remained there and joined Monday’s summit via telephone.
The rest of the queen’s missive echoed Buckingham Palace’s statement issued last week following the couple’s surprise announcement.
“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 statement said.
The queen’s statement comes after a summit at her Sandringham Estate that is said to have included Harry and other senior royals such as his elder brother, Prince William, and their father, Prince Charles. Harry is sixth in line for the British throne, following Prince Charles, William and William’s three children.
Earlier in the day, there appeared to be some unity in the House of Windsor. Harry and Meghan’s break with from the royal family — their new direction has been referred to as “Megxit” — came amid rumors that a rift had been growing between Harry and William. However, the brothers issued a joint statement slamming a Times of London article about their supposedly strained relationship and William’s alleged “bullying.”
“For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful,” their statement said.
It is still unclear how Harry and Meghan, a former American actress who starred in the TV drama “Suits,” will achieve financial independence since much of their support income and security is drawn from the taxpayer-funded Sovereign Grant.
When the pair announced their slimmed-down role last Wednesday, they launched a website that detailed their financial strategy and laid out an amended media-relations policy and explanation of how they plan to continue to serve the monarchy. However, following the queen’s announcement, it appears that those plans are still subject to royal-family approval.