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What the Queen really means with Harry and Meghan crisis statement

The Queen said the royal family 'had very constructive discussions' on the future of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex

The Queen said the royal family ‘had very constructive discussions’ on the future of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on Monday (Picture: Getty/PA)

The Queen made a personal statement on Harry and Meghan’s future yesterday after lengthy crisis talks at her private Sandringham estate.

She said that although she would have ‘preferred them to remain full-time working members of the royal family’ the Queen, Prince Charles and William ‘respect and understand’ the couple’s wish to step back from royal life.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced last week their plan to spend more time in North America with their baby son Archie, become financially independent and no longer hold ‘senior’ roles within the monarchy.

In a statement following Harry’s crisis summit with his grandmother, father and brother, the Queen said the royal family ‘had very constructive discussions’ and it has been agreed ‘that there will be a period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the UK’.

Meghan had remained in Canada since flying back to be with Archie after she and Harry released their bombshell statement on Thursday.

Discussions were ‘complex matters’ for her family to resolve but she wanted ‘final decisions’ in the ‘coming days’, the head of state said.

She mentioned the word ‘family’ eight times in her statement, without referring to Harry and Meghan by their royal titles.

Handout issued by Buckingham Palace of a statement by Queen Elizabeth II who has said the royal family ?had very constructive discussions? on the future of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and it has been agreed ?that there will be a period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the UK?. PA Photo. Issue date: Monday January 13, 2020. See PA story ROYAL Sussex. Photo credit should read: Buckingham Palace/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

The Queen’s statement in full (Picture: PA)

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, leave Canada House in London, Britain January 7, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

Harry and Meghan will split their time between the UK and Canada (Picture: Reuters)

What does the Queen’s statement mean?

Harry and Meghan’s public duties and some private ones are mostly funded by the Prince of Wales from his private £21 million-a-year Duchy of Cornwall income, so this is not public funds.

Taxpayers pay for the couple’s official travel, and some of their office costs, but also an undisclosed amount for their security.

This could mean they intend to pay for their own security, and entirely fund their own official travel, but no further details have been released by Buckingham Palace.

It could mean Charles will continue to fund them, or even the Queen instead through her Duchy of Lancaster income, or that Harry and Meghan will become entirely financially independent.

Picture supplied by Terry Harris/Bav Media 07976 880732. Picture dated January 13th shows the Land Rover entering a back entrance to Sandringham House on Monday morning and believed to be carrying Prince Harry.It was the only car not to be stopped by security. A Land Rover believed to be carrying Prince Harry was spotted driving into the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk this morning (Mon) for today???s historic summit with the Queen. The car was spotted driving through a back entrance to the Royal estate at 11.20am. It had two passengers in the back seat, one of which was believed to be Prince Harry, but his face was obscured by the darkened glass. The Land Rover was not stopped at either the first or second police check as it went through the Estate entrance, whereas all other cars have been stopped and searched today. SEE COPY CATCHLINE Prince Harry car

Harry arriving for the talks at Sandringham in his Land Rover (Picture: Bav Media)

What else did the Queen say?

She said Harry and Meghan wished to live a ‘more independent life’ as a family while ‘remaining a valued part of my family’, indicating, at this stage, the couple will not be cutting ties completely with the Windsors.

The monarch said she and the family were ‘entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family’ – but she added: ‘We would have preferred them to remain full-time working Members of the Royal Family.’

What about their HRH style and their titles?

It is not yet known. The couple were referred to initially by the Queen, in an unusual degree of informality for the monarch, as ‘Harry and Meghan’, rather than by their official titles of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

This could be seen as a clue to what might be in store.

But later in the statement, the Queen calls them ‘the Sussexes’.

Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (2R) talks with Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (R) as Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, (L) talks with Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, (2L) as they all attend the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 11, 2019. - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has been the Head of the Commonwealth throughout her reign. Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Service is the largest annual inter-faith gathering in the United Kingdom. (Photo by Richard Pohle / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read RICHARD POHLE/AFP via Getty Images)

It is still unclear if Harry and Meghan will retain their royal titles as Duke and Duchess of Sussex (Picture: AFP)

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 10: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge watch a flypast to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force from the balcony of Buckingham Palace on July 10, 2018 in London, England. The 100th birthday of the RAF, which was founded on on 1 April 1918, was marked with a centenary parade with the presentation of a new Queen's Colour and flypast of 100 aircraft over Buckingham Palace. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Harry and William made a rare joint statement about false claims in a UK newspaper during their crisis meeting on Monday (Picture: Getty)

And where will the couple live?

There will be a period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the UK, the Queen said.

How could they fund themselves?

Harry and Meghan are predicted to make millions as a global brand.

But the pair are already millionaires. Their joint wealth is estimated to be around £18 million, according to writer David McClure, who has investigated royal finances.

Harry inherited nearly £7 million from his late mother Diana, Princess of Wales, but this will have grown with investment, and he is also thought to have had an inheritance from the Queen Mother, so is believed to have around £10-15 million.

The duchess, said to be worth £2-3 million, pocketed a reported £333,000 per season for six runs of the legal drama Suits, as well as earning an income from feature films and fashion collections.

(FILE PHOTO) Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess Of Sussex have announced they are to step back as Senior Royals and say they want to divide their time between the UK and North America. LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 11: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend a service marking the centenary of WW1 armistice at Westminster Abbey on November 11, 2018 in London, England. The armistice ending the First World War between the Allies and Germany was signed at Compi??gne, France on eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month - 11am on the 11th November 1918. This day is commemorated as Remembrance Day with special attention being paid for this year??s centenary. (Photo by Paul Grover- WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Meghan and Harry want to become independent from the royal family (Picture: Getty)

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Paul Marriott/REX (10524867e) Queen Elizabeth II attended the St. Mary Magdalene Church Sunday morning service Queen Elizabeth attends church service, Sandringham, Norfolk, UK - 12 Jan 2020

The Queen said the family were ‘entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family’ (Picture: Rex)

When will the saga be resolved?

The Queen, taking charge of the crisis, is clearly keen to conclude the matter and move on.

More work is to be done after ‘very constructive discussions’ with the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and Harry, she said.

But she is keeping to a tight timetable and has asked for final decisions to be reached in the coming days.

What are the problems that need resolving?

As well as confirmation on funding, security and titles, other issues include:

  • What official engagements will Harry and Meghan carry out and how many?
  • What proportion of their time will be spent on royal duties, and what will happen to their Commonwealth roles, their charities and their patronages?
  • How will they ensure there is not a conflict of interest between their royal duties and their private work?
  • Will they pay rent on Frogmore Cottage? Will this be at a commercial rate or a peppercorn rent?
  • Where will they live in Canada and who will pay for their home? Where will they pay tax? Where will Archie go to school?
  • What is happening with Meghan’s British citizenship application? Has this been completed?

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