Queen suggests Harry and Meghan will start ‘a more independent life’

Queen suggests Harry and Meghan will start 'a more independent life'

The Queen has indicated the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are to start a more "independent life" away from full-time royal duties and begin a transition period living in the UK and Canada.

In her first public comments since Meghan and Harry released their bombshell statement last week the head of state also expressed her regret at the Sussexes' wish to step back as senior royals.

But she said her family "respect and understand" their wishes for more independence while still remaining a "valued part" of the monarchy.

In a highly unusual move Harry and Meghan were not referred to as the duke and duchess in the statement, only as the Sussexes and by their first names, raising questions about whether they will retain their titles in the future.

The Queen was joined by the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge for the face-to-face talks with Harry at her private Norfolk estate, described as "very constructive", and it is thought Meghan joined the discussions by telephone from Canada after the monarch made reference to comments by the duchess and her husband.

It is unusual for the Queen to issue a statement in her own name – when not paying condolences following a natural disaster or the death of a world leader – and is symbolic of the sovereign taking charge of the crisis that threatens to cause lasting damage to the monarchy.

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(L-R) Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend a reception to mark the 50th Anniversary of the investiture of The Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace in London on March 5, 2019. - The Queen hosted a reception to mark the Fiftieth Anniversary of the investiture of Britain's Prince Charles, her son, as the Prince of Wales. Prince Charles was created The Prince of Wales aged 9 on July 26th 1958 and was formally invested with the title by Her Majesty The Queen on July 1st 1969 at Caernarfon Castle. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read DOMINIC LIPINSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L) talks with Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex after the wedding of Britain's Princess Eugenie of York to Jack Brooksbank at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor, on October 12, 2018. (Photo by Aaron Chown / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read AARON CHOWN/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 10: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Queen Elizabeth II and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex watch a flypast to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force from the balcony of Buckingham Palace on July 10, 2018 in London, England. The 100th birthday of the RAF, which was founded on on 1 April 1918, was marked with a centenary parade with the presentation of a new Queen's Colour and flypast of 100 aircraft over Buckingham Palace. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 10: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Queen Elizabeth II and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex watch a flypast to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force from the balcony of Buckingham Palace on July 10, 2018 in London, England. The 100th birthday of the RAF, which was founded on on 1 April 1918, was marked with a centenary parade with the presentation of a new Queen's Colour and flypast of 100 aircraft over Buckingham Palace. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 1O: Queen Elizabeth ll and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to view a flypast to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force (RAF) on July 10, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/WireImage)
TOPSHOT - (L-R) Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Britain's Queen Elizabeth II pose for a picture during the Queen's Young Leaders Awards Ceremony on June 26, 2018 at Buckingham Palace in London. (Photo by John Stillwell / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOHN STILLWELL/AFP/Getty Images)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (R) talks with Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex before the Queen's Young Leaders Awards Ceremony on June 26, 2018 at Buckingham Palace in London. (Photo by John Stillwell / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOHN STILLWELL/AFP/Getty Images)
International didgeridoo player William Barton performs during the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 11, 2019, as members of the Royal Family, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge,, Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Britain's Prince Andrew, Duke of York, listen. - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has been the Head of the Commonwealth throughout her reign. Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Service is the largest annual inter-faith gathering in the United Kingdom. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/AFP/Getty Images)
ASCOT, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 19: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Queen Elizabeth II attend day 1 of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 19, 2018 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
ASCOT, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 19: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Queen Elizabeth II attend day 1 of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 19, 2018 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
WIDNES, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 14: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Queen Elizabeth II (accompanied by Samantha Cohen) attend a ceremony to open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge on June 14, 2018 in Widnes, England. Meghan Markle married Prince Harry last month to become The Duchess of Sussex and this is her first engagement with the Queen. During the visit the pair will open a road bridge in Widnes and visit The Storyhouse and Town Hall in Chester. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
WIDNESS, ENGLAND - JUNE 14: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Queen Elizabeth II open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge on June 14, 2018 in Widness, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage)
WIDNESS, ENGLAND - JUNE 14: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Queen Elizabeth II open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge on June 14, 2018 in Widness, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage)
TOPSHOT - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex gesture during their visit to the Storyhouse in Chester, Cheshire on June 14, 2018. (Photo by PHIL NOBLE / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read PHIL NOBLE/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 26: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex at the Queen's Young Leaders Awards Ceremony at Buckingham Palace on June 26, 2018 in London, England. The Queen's Young Leaders Programme, now in its fourth and final year, celebrates the achievements of young people from across the Commonwealth working to improve the lives of people across a diverse range of issues including supporting people living with mental health problems, access to education, promoting gender equality, food scarcity and climate change. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
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The head of state also expressed the "support" of herself and the rest of the family for the couple's aspiration to create a new life together with their eight-month-old son Archie.

But she stressed the discussions were "complex matters" for her family to resolve but she wanted "final decisions" in the "coming days".

Harry and Meghan made clear in their statement last week they want to step back from being senior royals, become financially independent and split their time between North America and the UK.

The Queen
The Queen held talks with Harry, William and Charles (Joe Giddens/PA)

The head of state said: "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."

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