Queen Elizabeth agrees to let Harry and Meghan move to Canada

British monarch said she would have preferred for the couple to remain as working members of the royal family

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Queen Elizabeth II said on Monday she had agreed to grant Prince Harry and Meghan their wish for a more independent life in which they will split their time between the UK and Canada.

The statement came after an urgent meeting at the Queen’s Sandringham estate attended by high-ranking members of the British royal family.

The crisis talks were intended to resolve a rift in the royal family triggered by the announcement that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex wanted to step back from royal duties.

“Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family,” the British monarch said.

The UK’s head of state, 93, indicated she would have preferred the pair to remain working royals.

“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 said.

The Queen announced the beginning of a transition period in which the Sussexes will spend some of their time in Canada.

“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.”

Last week’s shock announcement by Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, exposed divisions in the Windsor family and prompted soul-searching over what it means to be royal in the 21st century.

The couple consulted neither the queen nor Charles before their announcement, made on Instagram and their own website, a step seen as impertinent and premature by a family whose roots go back through a thousand years of European history.

Meghan is currently in Canada with their infant son Archie. She had been expected to join Monday’s discussion by telephone.

She and Harry say they want a “progressive” new role for themselves and financial independence, which could mean working in the United States, where Meghan is from.

But it is unclear how they will pull off a partial pullback from royal roles – which some media have dubbed “Megxit” in a play on Britain’s tortuous Brexit departure from the European Union – or who will pay for their transatlantic lifestyle.

“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 said in her statement.