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Queen Elizabeth Agrees to ‘Period of Transition’ for Prince Harry, Meghan Markle

Colin Keatinge and Robert Hutton

(Bloomberg) -- Queen Elizabeth II agreed to her grandson Prince Harry’s demand that he should be allowed to give up most of his duties in Britain’s royal family and forge a new life for himself abroad.

In a statement, the queen said that following a day of “very constructive discussions,” Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, will have a “period of transition” in which they will spend time in Canada and the U.K.

The Jan. 8 announcement from Harry and Meghan that they wished to back away from the royal family has thrown Britain’s monarchy into turmoil and dominated the headlines for days. Even though Harry has only a remote prospect of becoming king -- he’s sixth in line, behind his father, brother, and nephews and niece -- there was outrage and confusion at his announcement that, with his wife, he wanted to become financially independent and “carve out” a “progressive new role.”

The queen said Harry and Meghan have “made clear that they do not want to be reliant on public funds” in their new lives. “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.”

It’s not clear what financial independence would mean, or who would bear the cost of protecting the couple if they lived in Canada. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as Harry and Meghan are formally known, combined their announcement with an attack on the press. There has been little love lost between the couple and some tabloid papers. But the price of carrying on a public feud with the media is that their opponents will be on the lookout for anything that can be portrayed as “cashing in” on their royal status.

(Updates with background from third paragraph.)

To contact the reporters on this story: Colin Keatinge in London at ckeatinge@bloomberg.net;Robert Hutton in London at rhutton1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Sunil Kesur at skesur@bloomberg.net, Robert Jameson

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