In Brief

Queen gives Harry and Meghan her blessing - reaction

Period of transition agreed as couple seek to step back a senior royals

The Queen has agreed to a “period of transition” during which time Prince Harry and Meghan will spend time in Canada and the UK, according to an official statement.

After the couple last week announced their intention to “step back” as senior royals, members of the family including the Queen, Prince William, Prince Harry and Prince Charles convened in Sandringham yesterday for a so-called “crisis summit”. It is understood that Meghan called in on the telephone from Canada.

In a statement described as “remarkably candid and informal” by the BBC, the Queen said she is “entirely supportive” of the couple’s desire for a new role.

“Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family,” the statement began. “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.”

The statement went on to say that the Sussexes have made clear that they “do not want to be reliant on public funds in their new lives” and that it has been agreed there will be a “period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the UK”. 

Her Majesty also said there were “complex matters for my family to resolve”, adding that she has “asked for final decisions to be reached in the coming days”.

The media has been busily attempting to decode the Queen’s words, with the Daily Mail saying the Queen’s “reference to ‘Harry and Meghan’, rather than ‘the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’, as is protocol for official Palace statements, could be an indicator the couple are poised to be stripped of the HRH titles”.

Meanwhile, The Times points out that “the statement used the word ‘family’ eight times and the Queen appeared to be going out of her way to offer reassurance to the couple”. The Guardian reports that she was trying to strike “a conciliatory tone”. 

The Independent also notes that it is “unusual” for the Queen to issue a statement in her own name, highlighting the personal nature of the message.

However, The Sun said that the Queen’s “surrender” to the “petulant, selfish demands of Harry and Meghan” may be “the biggest mistake of her long reign”.

“We never really thought this scandal could threaten the monarchy,” the paper says. “But its image looks in mortal danger and its finances may have to be rapidly reviewed if Harry and Meghan still receive seven-figure sums from Charles despite having £30million in the bank.”

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News that the couple intend to spend their time between the UK and Canada also prompted a reponse from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Trudeau said that while many Canadians are “very supportive” of having the royals live there, “there are still lots of discussions to have” over “how that looks and what kind of costs are involved”.

According to the BBC, he added that the Canadian government has not yet been involved in discussions about the potential move.

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