After all of last week’s controversy surrounding Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s announcement that the couple would be splitting up their time between the UK and North America, Queen Elizabeth has finally issued an official statement, following a Royal Family meeting Monday morning.
“Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family,” the Queen confirmed in a statement from Buckingham Palace, clarifying, “My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family.”
In a rare moment of transparency she conceded, “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,” she continued, perhaps referencing the pushback that the couple has received for all the money British taxpayers paid for the renovation of their royal residence, only to have them abandon it shortly thereafter.
“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 concluded. “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.”
Last week, the couple — who were married in 2018 and had a son, Archie, last year — announced plans to step back from their duties as senior members of the British royal family.
“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” they said in a statement. “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.”
One of the trickier questions that needs to be worked out is precisely what it means for a royal to be financially independent and what activities can be undertaken to make money. Other royals who have ventured into the world of commerce have found it complicated.
Sophie, the countess of Wessex, sought to keep her public relations firm going after her marriage to the queen’s third son, Prince Edward, only to find herself embroiled in controversy when she was tricked by the “Fake Sheikh” — an undercover reporter offering a lucrative contract for her firm.
Sophie hinted that if the “sheikh” paid for the firm’s services he would get greater publicity because of her royal role. In the end, both Sophie and Edward, who ran a television company, gave up their businesses to become full-time royals in 2002.
Prince Andrew, who was a UK trade envoy, has faced heated questions about his relationship with the late convicted sex offender and financier Jeffrey Epstein, whom Andrew has said was beneficial to his trade work. The queen’s second son has relinquished royal duties and patronages after being accused by a woman who says she was an Epstein trafficking victim who slept with the prince.
Harry and Meghan also face questions about paying for security, which is currently taxpayer-funded. Home Secretary Priti Patel refused to comment, but said safety was a priority and added that “royal family themselves need some time and space for them to work through the current issues that they’re dealing with.”
The Associated Press contributed to this article.