Queen Elizabeth II released a statement after family crisis talks that said she and her family are “entirely supportive” of Prince Harry and his wife Meghan’s desire to “create a new life as a young family.”
The Queen’s statement, released through the Royal Family’s social media accounts on January 13, 2020, also indicated that there will be a “period of transition” in which the Duke and Duches of Sussex will “spend time in Canada and the UK.”
However, notably the Queen did not refer to the pair by their titles of Duke and Duchess, instead calling them by their first names, although she did refer to them as the Sussexes at one point.
Update: The Queen has now announced that Meghan and Harry won’t use their HRH titles anymore, won’t take public money and will repay sovereign grant funds used to renovate Frogmore Cottage, their UK residence. Whether taxpayers will pay for their security remains unclear.
The Queen’s statement came in the midst of an extraordinary firestorm in Great Britain over the sudden announcement by Prince Harry and the former Meghan Markle that they would be stepping back as senior royals in an attempt to build financial independence. However, it didn’t answer a number of the thorniest, lingering questions about the arrangement.
It’s only the second time the Queen has released a statement on the matter. It also came as Princes William and Harry released a joint statement denying a British media report that Meghan wanted to leave the Royal Family because William had “bullied” her.
Here’s the Queen’s full statement:
Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family.
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.
Here’s what you need to know:
Many Questions Remain About What British Media Have Dubbed ‘Megxit’
The Queen’s statement was broad and didn’t dig into the details, and the devil’s in the details as they say. Some questions that she did not answer:
Will Harry and Meghan retain their titles and HRH status?
Will they be able to undertake commercial ventures (say, product endorsements) while still retaining those titles and Royal status? Will that cheapen the monarchy? What about overt political stances?
Would the British public stand for the latter?
To what degree will they remain part of the Royal Family and how?
Read more about 9 key questions the Queen’s statement didn’t answer here.
Will Harry and Meghan really get to keep living in Frogmore House and enjoy taxpayer-funded security and travels, as they demanded on their website? And how does that square with her comment that Harry and Meghan “do not want to be reliant on public funds in their new lives.”
British news media comment threads are clogged with angry members of the public demanding that the Sussexes lose all of those things. The crisis talks were said to include the heirs to the throne – Charles, William – as well as Harry and the Queen, with Meghan participating from Canada.
Meghan & Harry Said Previously That They Want to “Work to Become’ Financially Independent
On their new flashy website Sussex Royal, Meghan and Harry revealed they desire to “work to become” financially independent.
“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We 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,” they wrote.
“It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages. This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity. We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge, and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.”
On a separate tab titled “funding,” the couple wrote, “In 2020, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have made the choice to transition into a new working model. As they step back as senior members of the Royal Family and no longer receive funding through the Sovereign Grant, they will become members of the Royal Family with financial independence which is something they look forward to.”
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