Queen Elizabeth: Family supportive of Prince Harry, Meghan’s ‘desire to create a new life’

Queen Elizabeth said in a statement Monday that the royal family had “very constructive discussions” about the future of Prince Harry and his wife, the former Meghan Markle, after they announced their intent to step down as 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 queen said Monday 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.”

Queen Elizabeth said family members agreed to “a period of transition in which Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, 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,” she said.

The announcement came after senior members of the royal family met Monday at Sandringham House to discuss the couple’s future, according to BBC News. The meeting, dubbed the Sandringham summit, included Prince Harry, Prince William, Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth, Reuters reported. Meghan, who returned to Canada last week to be with her and Harry’s son, 8-month-old Archie, was expected to join the meeting by phone from Canada, according to Reuters.

Prince Harry and Meghan stunned the royal family last week when they announced their intent to step down as senior members of the royal family.

"We have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution," the couple said in a statement released on their Sussex Royal social media accounts. "We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen."

They said they planned to split their time between the United Kingdom and North America.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex recently returned to the U.K. after spending weeks celebrating the holidays in Victoria, British Columbia, according to CTV News.

“It was such an incredible time,” Meghan told Janice Charette, Canada’s high commissioner to the U.K., during a visit last week, CTV News reported.

Before meeting Prince Harry, from 2011 to 2018, Meghan lived in Toronto for nine months of each year to film “Suits,” a legal drama in which she starred, BBC News reported. She began dating Prince Harry after they were introduced by a friend in July 2016, the couple told BBC News. They were engaged in November 2017 and wed May 19, 2018.