Sandringham, United Kingdom | AFP | Queen Elizabeth II on Monday said Prince Harry and his wife Meghan would be allowed to split their time between Britain and Canada while their future is finalised.
The couple said last week they wanted to step back from the royal frontline, catching the family off guard and forcing the monarch to convene crisis talks about the pair’s future roles.
The 93-year-old queen, her son and heir Prince Charles, and his two sons princes William and Harry began a family summit at her private Sandringham estate in Norfolk, eastern England, on Monday.
She called the discussions “very constructive” and said she and her family were “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 added.
“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.”
The queen has previously said she wanted to find “workable solutions” to the crisis, which has dominated the media since the bombshell announcement last week.
Harry and Meghan’s effective resignation has thrown up a series of questions, including how they can raise their own finances without compromising the monarchy.
Earlier, Prince Harry and his brother Prince William put on a united front as they were summoned to showdown talks Monday on Harry’s future after he and his wife Meghan unilaterally announced they were quitting as front-line British royalty.
The brothers lashed out at a story alleging that William bullied his younger brother, as newspapers speculated on what caused the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to quit their roles in search of a new life.
William, 37, and 35-year-old Harry formed a close bond following their mother Diana’s death in 1997 but Harry admitted last month they had drifted apart and were now on different paths.
The fraternal show of unity came as they were summoned to talks with their grandmother Queen Elizabeth II and father Prince Charles aimed at charting a way through the crisis.
The 93-year-old monarch called the trio to urgent discussions at her private Sandringham retreat in eastern England.
A story in The Times newspaper said Monday that Harry and Meghan saw themselves as having been “pushed away from the royal family” by William’s “‘bullying’ attitude” — adding that sources close to the princes had denied this version of events.
A statement on behalf of Harry and William said: “Despite clear denials, a false story ran in a UK newspaper today speculating about the relationship between the Duke of Sussex and the Duke of Cambridge.
“For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful.”