Royal blessing: Queen agrees ‘period of transition’ for Harry and Meghan

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The Queen says she has had “constructive” talks with other senior royals on the future of Prince Harry and Meghan and will allow the couple to spend time in Canada and the UK during a “period of transition”.

The final decisions on how the pair will organise their time and finances will be made in the coming days, the monarch said in a statement released by Buckingham Palace.

The Queen said the Royal Family “respect and understand” Harry and Meghan’s desire for a “new life” although they would have preferred for them to remain “full-time working members”.

And she admitted there are still “complex matters” to be resolved, which are believed to include their security costs estimated to be around £1m a year.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge leaves Sandringham Estate, Norfolk after crisis talks with the royal family over the decision of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to step back from frontline royal duties. Credit: Geoff Robinson Photography
Image: Prince William leaves the Sandringham estate after the crisis talks

Prince William has been seen leaving the Sandringham estate in Norfolk after the crisis talks, which along with him involved the Queen, Prince Charles and Harry.

Meghan was expected to take part in the conversation via a conference call from Canada where she is looking after baby Archie.

It is not known if or when he will join his wife in Canada, or if she will come back first, but he is due at Buckingham Palace on Thursday.

More from Meghan Markle

The emergency summit came after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said on Wednesday that they want to be financially independent and step back as senior royals.

But they have been accused of “wanting to have their cake and eat it” and there were reports last week suggesting Her Majesty was “disappointed” and had not been consulted about their decision.

The Queen said in her statement on Monday: “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.

Prince Philip was seen being driven out of Sandringham on Monday ahead of the summit, which he is not attending
Image: Prince Philip was driven out of Sandringham earlier, ahead of the summit, which he did not attend

“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.”

The news comes after a joint statement from brothers William and Harry this morning, saying that an “offensive and potentially harmful” newspaper report about their relationship is false.

The statement is believed to have been in response to a story in The Times, alleging that the Sussexes felt “bullied” and unwelcome by William.

The Queen pictured after attending church
Image: The Queen pictured after attending church at Sandringham on Sunday

Reflecting on the words from the Queen today, Sky’s royal correspondent Rhiannon Mills said: “It’s important to reflect on the tone of the statement. I think you hear her as a grandmother as well as the head of this very important institution.”

She added: “We knew this meeting was going to be difficult for those four senior members of the Royal Family. It was the first time all four had met since Harry and Meghan released that statement without telling anyone that they wanted to step back as senior royals.

“The Queen has reflected on the fact that they are still important members of the family. But when we talk about the royal firm there are still very complex decisions that have to be made.”

Mills went on: “With the money side of things that is going to be incredibly complex. On their website Sussex Royal, they outline the fact they still want to stay at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor which is the home that was given to them by the Queen but had £2.4m of public funds spent on renovating it.

“Also on their website they make clear they believe they will still be entitled to security which could cost around £1m a year, especially if they are shuttling between the UK and North America.

“So when it comes to the finances, Harry and Meghan make it clear they don’t want to be reliant on public funds but I still think there needs to be bits and pieces unpicked on that. There will still be questions especially from those who want the monarchy to justify their costs to the public purse.”

Mills also pointed out that in the royal statement “they are not describing them as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, they are describing them as Harry and Meghan – it’s an interesting point. And we still don’t know what is going to happen with their titles”.

The Duke of Sussex was caught on camera touting his wife for a voiceover job to Disney chairman Robert Iger at the Lion King premiere in London last July.
July: Harry touts Meghan for Disney job

Meanwhile, video footage has emerged of the duke highlighting to the Disney boss his wife’s availability to do voiceover work.

Harry was filmed chatting to Robert Iger during the European premiere last summer of the Lion King in London’s Leicester Square, and said about Meghan: “You do know she does voiceovers?”

Mr Iger replied: “I did not know that,” and the duke went on to say: “You seem surprised. She’s really interested.”

Meghan has reportedly agreed a voiceover deal with Disney which will make a donation to wildlife charity Elephants Without Borders which is supported by Harry.

Harry and Meghan: Queen agrees ‘period of transition’ after ‘constructive’ talks

The Queen says she has had “constructive” talks with other senior royals on the future of Prince Harry and Meghan and will allow the couple to spend time in Canada and the UK during a “period of transition”.

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