Queen Elizabeth agrees to 'period of transition' for Prince Harry, Meghan Markle

  • FILE - In this Tuesday, June 26, 2018 file photo, Britain's Queen Elizabeth, Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex pose for a group photo at the Queen's Young Leaders Awards Ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London. As part of a surprise announcement distancing themselves from the British royal family, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan declared they will "work to become financially independent" _ a move that has not been clearly spelled out and could be fraught with obstacles.(John Stillwell/Pool Photo via AP, File)

    FILE - In this Tuesday, June 26, 2018 file photo, Britain's Queen Elizabeth, Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex pose for a group photo at the Queen's Young Leaders Awards Ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London. As part of a surprise announcement distancing themselves from the British royal family, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan declared they will "work to become financially independent" _ a move that has not been clearly spelled out and could be fraught with obstacles.(John Stillwell/Pool Photo via AP, File)

 
 
Updated 1/13/2020 12:15 PM

(Bloomberg) -- Following "very constructive discussions" on the future of "my grandson and his family," Queen Elizabeth II said it's been agreed that Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, will have a "period of transition" in which they will spend time in Canada and the U.K.

"My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan's desire to create a new life as a young family," the Queen said, according to an emailed statement Monday. "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."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Jan. 8 announcement from Harry and Meghan that they wished to back away from the Royal family has thrown Britain's monarchy into turmoil and dominated the headlines for days. Even though Harry has only a remote prospect of becoming King -- he's sixth in line, behind his father, brother, and nephews and niece -- there was outrage and confusion at his announcement that, with his wife, he wanted to become financially independent and "carve out" a "progressive new role."

The Queen said Harry and Meghan have "made clear that they do not want to be reliant on public funds" in their new lives. "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."

It's not clear what financial independence would mean, or who would bear the cost of protecting the couple if they lived in Canada. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as Harry and Meghan are formally known, combined their announcement with an attack on the press. There has been little love lost between the couple and some tabloid papers. But the price of carrying on a public feud with the media is that their opponents will be on the lookout for anything that can be portrayed as "cashing in" on their royal status.

(Updates with background from third paragraph.)

To contact the reporters on this story: Colin Keatinge in London at ckeatinge@bloomberg.net;Robert Hutton in London at rhutton1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Sunil Kesur at skesur@bloomberg.net, Robert Jameson

(c)2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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