Queen Elizabeth the Second has given her blessings to her grandson, Prince Harry and his American wife Meghan to strike out on their own outside the restrictions and commitments of life as royals.
It came in a statement Monday following a day of talks called by the Queen between senior members of the Royal Family to discuss a wish by Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, to scale back their royal duties and move overseas.
The ‘Sandringham Summit’, a reference to the Queen’s country estate at Sandringham in Norfolk, was summoned to discuss a new role for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex following their shock request.
The full statement reads:
"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."
The issue has dominated British press coverage over the past few days ever since Prince Harry and his American wife released a statement a few days ago, announcing their intention to live abroad.
It has also been the subject of media scrutiny and public debate globally, especially in the United States where Meghan, who is of mixed race and self-identifies as ‘a woman of colour’, was born.
The resulting heated debate has delved into their lifestyle with a level of intrusiveness that itself has triggered a backlash about privacy issues.
From their fairytale wedding, their future, and finances, to speculation of rifts within the royal family especially between Harry and his brother William - and between their wives, to the timing of their announcement (and whether the Queen was informed), nothing seems to have been off-limits in the media and public-interest feeding frenzy.
Monday’s carefully worded statement by the Queen, was expected to put a damper on the speculation, if not yet draw a line under it.
This is the statement by Harry and Meghan a few days ago announcing their future plans, which triggered the huge wave of debate and speculation:
“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.
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.”
Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said further talks were needed over who pays for Prince Harry and Meghan's security when they take up residence there.