Queen Backs Harry, Meghan's Wish for Less-Royal Lives

But the financial details are still getting ironed out
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2020 11:37 AM CST
Updated Jan 13, 2020 1:23 PM CST
Queen Gives Blessing to 'Period of Transition'
In this 2015 photo, Britain's Prince William, right, and Prince Harry attend a ceremony in London.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

(Newser) – The "Sandringham summit" is over, and it looks like the queen is OK with Harry and Meghan embarking on a life of less royalty. But we won't know particulars about their role in the royal family—including the financial part—until more negotiations are complete. Still, we are a "little clearer" on the path forward after the queen's rare, personal statement on the matter, write Kevin Rawlinson and Martin Belam at the Guardian. Among other things, the queen signed off on her grandson and his wife splitting time between Canada and the UK. Coverage:

  • The statement: "My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family," says the queen's statement, which can be read in full here. "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."
  • A 'transition': She adds that "complex matters" must still be worked out, but she has agreed to "a period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the UK." She expects the details to be ironed out this week.

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  • The money: As an example of the "complex matters" mentioned by the queen, the Guardian reports that the palace is consulting with government officials on the constitutional implications of all this, including the allocation of any public funds to the couple or their use of public estates while in the UK. In her statement, the queen says "Harry and Meghan have made clear that they do not want to be reliant on public funds in their new lives." A CNN video explains that the couple is at least giving up income from a fund known as the "Sovereign Grant." But will the government pay for their security in the future? Questions like that are still unanswered.
  • Still royals? It's not clear whether Harry and Meghan will retain their titles of His Royal Highness and Her Royal Highness, notes the AP in a roundup of lingering questions. They may give them up voluntarily. Because they are withdrawing from most of their royal obligations, the royal family may insist on it. However, the queen did not address the issue Monday, though she emphasized the couple would remain "a valued part of my family." Of note: She referred to the them as "Harry and Meghan" rather than the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
  • Analysis: The queen's statement is "remarkably candid and informal," writes Jonny Dymond at the BBC, and the reference to a "transition period" shows that she "sees this as a process, not an event." It's possible the agreements reached this week will be reviewed for months, if not years.
  • A contrast: BuzzFeed has an interesting headline comparison of how British tabloids gave Kate Middleton and Prince William glowing coverage on certain things (from childraising to financial matters) and highly critical coverage to Harry and Meghan over the very same things.
(Read more Royal Family stories.)

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