13 Jan, 2020
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth has given her blessing to grandson Prince Harry and his wife Meghan’s wish for a more independent future following crisis talks involving the most senior members of the royal family.
“My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family,” the 93-year-old monarch said in a statement.
“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 there would be a transition period during which the couple would spend time in Britain and Canada, adding there was more work to be done on finalizing future arrangements for the couple.
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.
Last year, they announced legal action against a British tabloid, and Harry said papers had been bullying his wife in a way reminiscent of the hounding his mother Princess Diana had suffered before her death in a Paris car crash in 1997.
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 a transatlantic lifestyle.
Currently, they are mainly funded by money from Prince Charles’s Duchy of Cornwall estate as their royal roles have precluded them seeking personal incomes.
“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.
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 told Global News in a television interview.
There are no provisions in Canada’s Citizenship Act that confer Canadian citizenship status to members of the royal family by virtue of their status as a member of the monarchy, Canada’s immigration department said in an emailed statement.
To become legal permanent residents of Canada, they would need to apply through normal immigration processes, the statement added.
Prince Charles, 71, has long sought a leaner royal family, but it is unclear how Harry and Meghan would fit into that model – especially if they essentially become Hollywood superstars.
In trying to resolve the crisis, the most powerful members of the so-called royal “Firm” are aware that the final outcome could shape the monarchy’s future.
Elizabeth has served the country loyally since ascending the throne in 1952, earning the respect and admiration of most Britons, including many republicans, but the family has also sometimes faced accusations of being aloof and out of touch.
The breakdown in royal relations has dominated the British media for days, with newspapers running a host of stories, based on quotes from unidentified royal insiders, about a split between Harry and William, the Duke of Cambridge, and anger at the top of the family amid suspicion of leaks and ostracism.
In a sign of the tensions, Harry and William issued a rare public statement on Monday to denounce a report by the Times newspaper based on an unnamed source which said Harry and Meghan had been pushed away by “a bullying attitude” from William who had not been welcoming to Meghan.
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