Almost a week after Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan (née Markle) announced they were “stepping back” from the royal family, Queen Elizabeth II spoke out about where things stand with their family now. “Today, my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family,” a statement from the 93-year-old queen read on Monday, January 13. “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.”

She continued, “Harry and Meghan have made it clear that they do not want to be reliant on public funds in their new lives. It has therefore been agreed that there will be a period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the U.K. 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.”

Meghan and Harry Talking to Queen Elizabeth II

The Suits alum, 38, and the redheaded royal, 35, shocked the world — and their family — when they revealed they would be embarking on a different adventure on January 8. “It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment,” they wrote on Instagram at the time. “We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honor our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth and our patronages. 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.”

While the sudden move might seem surprising to others, Harry and Meghan actually had been thinking about it for quite some time — especially after they spent the holidays in Canada. “It’s not a new thing,” a source told In Touch exclusively. “They already have a home setting there and have been coming and going for months! But being based in Canada for six weeks was enough time to make them certain about the decision. While they’ll also be spending time in the U.K., Canada will be their main base.”

This past year, the brunette beauty — who shares 8-month-old son Archie with her husband — has been constantly criticized in the media, and the two got tired of the royal “rules and regulations,” another insider shared. “Harry and Meghan have had enough of the negative press and rules and regulations that come with being ‘tied to the ‘the firm’ so are willing to give it all up and gradually become financially independent. They want their own life.”

Meghan and Harry Holding Hands Together
Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

Even though things are a bit tense right now within the royal family, Meghan and Harry “are looking forward to having a fresh start and extending their family in Canada,” an additional source added. Hopefully, the royals can keep things civil going forward.

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