On Monday 13th January, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II expressed her regret that Harry and Meghan Markle would no longer serve the UK as “senior royals”. Adapting the monarchy to a progressive culture, the 93-year-old ruler demonstrated immense grace as she reluctantly blessed the couple with a “period of transition” wherein the couple could divide their time between Canada and the UK. However, in her official statement she stressed that her preference would have been for the couple to remain as full-time working royals.
Following the couple's announcement to become “financially independent” the monarch had called for emergency talks at Sandringham in presence of Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry with Meghan expected to join them through a video conference call from Canada. However, it is now understood that the couple decided that Meghan’s direct input was not necessary for the meeting and therefore did not join.
Buckingham Palace has yet to reveal full details of how the couple might achieve their goal of splitting time between the UK and Canada, stepping back as senior royals, and becoming financially independent by earning an income unfettered by royal constraints. In her personal statement, Her Majesty said,
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.
“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”.
This sudden decision to step away from their roles as senior royals will have huge implications for the shape of the monarchy, and for the future roles of young royals including Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, the youngest of the Cambridge’s three children. This move has also raised questions over whether Canadian taxpayers would have to pay for the couple’s security costs during their time in North America but the country’s prime minister Justin Trudeau said no discussions had taken place.
Earlier, Penny Junor, a royal biographer, said the Queen’s statement was “friendly and warm” and gave the couple space to find some perspective.