Queen's blessing for Harry, Meghan

Top News | REUTERS 15 Jan 2020

Queen Elizabeth has agreed to her grandson Prince Harry and his wife Meghan's wish for a more independent future after the British royal family held crisis talks to resolve a widening rift among the Windsors.

Harry and Meghan will now begin a "period of transition" that will see them split their time between Britain and Canada as they also seek a lifestyle less encumbered by royal duties and to end their reliance on public funding.

It comes after what the 93-year-old queen described as "very constructive discussions" between herself, Harry, his elder brother Prince William and his father and heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, at the monarch's rural Sandringham estate in eastern England.

"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.

"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."

Meghan, who is currently in Canada with their infant son Archie, had been expected to join the discussion by telephone.

Harry and Meghan say they want a "progressive" new role for themselves and financial independence. As one of the world's most glamorous couples, they have also made clear that they were struggling with the intense media scrutiny.

But it is unclear how they will pay for a transatlantic lifestyle, with funding currently coming from Prince Charles's Duchy of Cornwall estate.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said most Canadians are very supportive of having the royals in the country.

"But how that looks and what kind of costs is involved, there is still lots of discussions to have," Trudeau said.

Canada's immigration department said both would need to apply through normal immigration processes to become legal permanent residents of Canada.

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