Queen Elizabeth II Issues New Statement on Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's 'Period of Transition'

Queen Elizabeth II has broken her silence after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's surprise announcement that they will be stepping back as senior members of the royal family, issuing a statement on Monday, Jan. 13 in which she detailed an upcoming "period of transition."

"Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family," the monarch's statement began. "My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan's desire to create a new life as a young family. 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."

"Harry and Meghan have made clear that they do not want to be reliant on public funds in their new lives," she continued. "It has therefore been agreed that there will be a period of transition in which 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."

The statement comes after the Queen, Harry, Prince William and Prince Charles had a meeting at Sandringham to discuss Harry and Markle's future, with Markle reportedly calling in for the conference. In addition to their reduced royal capacity, the Sussexes also announced their wish to become financially independent and to divide their time between the U.K. and North America.

"After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution," the couple shared in a statement on Jan. 8. "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. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment."

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"We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages," the statement continued. "This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity. We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support."

Photo Credit: Getty / WPA Pool