Buckingham Palace released a statement from Queen Elizabeth II on Monday, January 13, marking the first time she has directly addressed grandson Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s recent decision to step back from their duties as senior members of the royal family.
“Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family,” the monarch, 93, said in her statement. “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.”
She went on: “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.”
Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, announced their news via Instagram on Wednesday, January 9, saying they “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” and plan to “carve out a progressive new role within this institution” after “many months of reflection and internal discussions.”
The royal couple also said that they’d balance their time between the United Kingdom and North America and that they “look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course.”
Harry and Meghan made the announcement “without the official blessing of the queen,” a source later told Us Weekly. “It’s not that they didn’t care,” the source explained. “It was a miscommunication.”
Multiple sources told Us that Meghan has been calling the shots about her and Harry’s royal roles. “Meghan is definitely leading the charge on this,” a source said, adding that the former Suits star “doesn’t have a lot of ties to Kensington Palace, the people or the other royals” in London.
Buckingham Palace released a cursory statement about the duo’s decision later in the day on Wednesday. “Discussions with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage,” the statement read. “We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.”
Royal correspondent Omid Scobie reported on Saturday, January 11, that Harry would meet Elizabeth, father Prince Charles and older brother Prince William at the Queen’s estate in Sandringham, England, on Monday to discuss the transition — with Meghan likely phoning in from Canada, where she’s been staying with the couple’s son, 8-month-old Archie, on and off since Christmas.