Queen Elizabeth II on Monday allowed Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to split their time between Canada and Britain during a “transition period” in which the family will figure out how to deal with their shock resignation from front-line royal duties.
The monarch said she held “very constructive” talks between Harry and his older brother Prince William and their father Prince Charles aimed at charting a course through the fallout of the bombshell announcement.
Meghan reportedly joined the conversation by phone from Canada after abruptly jetting out of Britain last week.
The Sussex’s resignation last Wednesday came after a year filled with rumours of infighting between the brothers and reports of Meghan feeling unwelcome in the highly traditional and structured royal family.
“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 queen said in a statement after the first day of meetings at her Sandringham estate in eastern England.
Harry and Meghan said they wanted to “carve out a progressive new role within this institution” — a statement that some read as a slight at the way the royal family has been run under Britain’s beloved monarch.
The monarch stressed the couple told her “they do not want to be reliant on public funds” but did not address the issue of whether they would keep their royal titles.
Harry and Meghan are formally known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Five percent of their income comes from public funds. The rest comes from Prince Charles’ Duchy of Cornwall heredity private estate. It dates back to 1337 and has officially reported assets worth £1.1 billion ($1.4 billion).
However, the queen elaborated there were still “complex matters” for the family to sort out.
“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 said.
According to British media, Charles was furious at Harry for making the announcement without winning the queen’s consent and had left the meeting early.
Debates over Harry and Meghan’s future have divided British public opinion and dominated newspaper front pages for days. According to a poll, 46 percent of respondents supported their decision, while 57 percent thought they were unfair to the Queen.
While their official plan is to continue to “fully support” the queen and honour their duties to the Commonwealth and their patronages, they want to make 2020 a transition year to carve out their new role and launch their new Sussex Royal charitable entity and seek to raise their own sources of income.
They also want to keep their newly-renovated Frogmore Cottage home on the queen’s Windsor Castle estate as their British base.
Meghan likes to vacation in Canada and is currently there with Archie.
But the Daily Mail said “her real dream” was to settle alongside other celebrities in Los Angeles – “but not while President Donald Trump is in charge”, it added. Meghan and Trump are not particularly known to like each other. In wake of the Sussex’s decision, Trump commented that the couple was being unfair to the Queen.