- Queen Elizabeth II has declared her support for Prince Harry and his wife Meghan’s announcement of withdrawal.
- At the crisis summit of the royal family, Harry and Meghan had been granted a “transition period”.
- SRF correspondent Henriette Engbersen speaks of an “important step” for the British monarchy.
Final decisions should be made “in the coming days,” the queen said. Much still remains to be done, since “complex” questions have to be clarified. Harry and Meghan had declared last Wednesday that they would largely withdraw from their royal obligations and want to live more independently.
The Queen had invited Harry, his brother Prince William and heir to the throne Prince Charles to their country estate at Sandringham Castle in County Norfolk to search for answers together. Meghan had dialed in from Canada by phone.
Assessment by SRF correspondent Henriette Engbersen
The statement from Buckingham Palace makes it clear that many details are still unclear, but Queen Elizabeth II basically gives the green light for Harry’s and Meghan’s wish. It is also underlined once again that Harry and Meghan want to be financially independent, which is certainly an important signal to British taxpayers.
Over the past few days, it has been heard time and again that many of the British population understand the couple’s move, but do not expect them to benefit in any way from taxpayers’ money. So far, this has been the case, for example, when it comes to the cost of personal protection.
It is likely that Harry and Meghan can keep their titles as Duke and Duchess of Sussex, respectively, and that the Queen can also imagine that Harry and Meghan will be able to accept orders in the future, presumably after the transition phase, in order to make money themselves. But details are still unclear.
Overall, it is an important step on the way to a modern form of monarchy that has never existed in the UK before.
«Valuable part of my family»
“Although we would have preferred to continue to see them as full-time members of the royal family, we respect and understand their desire for a more independent life as a family, in which they remain a valuable part of my family,” said the Queen.
Harry and Meghan had made it clear that they wanted to be independent of public funds. Therefore, a “transition period” had been decided during which they would be allowed to live in Canada and Great Britain.
The Queen described the crisis meeting at Sandringham Castle as “very constructive”. Her family and she supported Harry and Meghan’s wish to “create a new life as a young family”.
Storm of indignation
The Harry and Meghan statement had triggered a veritable storm of indignation and plunged the royal family into a crisis. According to media reports, the couple had previously involved neither the Queen nor Harry’s father Charles in the decision.
The announcement left many questions unanswered. Among other things, it was unclear how much money the two would receive from Prince Charles in the future – so far, the heir to the throne has financed 95 percent of Harry’s budget from his private assets, according to press reports.
However, it is not so easy for the couple to earn their own money without getting into conflicts of interest. It also has to be regulated who should pay for the costs of personal protection in the future – and whether the couple will keep their royal titles.