Queen says royal family 'entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan' as she announces 'period of transition'
Queen Elizabeth has said that the British royal family are "entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family".
Queen Elizabeth issued a statement in support of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle this evening, following their bombshell announcement last week that they plan to "step back" from their roles as senior members of the royal family.
The couple - who are parents to eight month-old Archie - said they want to split their time between the UK and North America and strive to become financially independent.
The Queen was joined by the Prince Charles and Prince William 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.
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.
"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," the monarch said.
She continued to say: "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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Her announcement comes just hours after Princes William and Harry released a joint statement in which they dismissed a "false story" published in a British newspaper.
"Despite clear denials, a false story ran in a UK newspaper today speculating about the relationship between The Duke of Sussex and The Duke of Cambridge.
"For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful," they said.
The statement was in response to a story published on Monday, allegedly detailing the status of their relationship, reporting that their brotherly bond began to fracture when William expressed reservation about Harry's romance with Meghan when they began dating.
The royals have been uncharacteristically forward in their communications with the press as they try to stay on top of the narrative unfolding around them since Meghan and Harry's shock announcement last Wednesday.
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With additional reporting by the Press Association