Prince Harry is expected to join wife Meghan Markle and their eight-month-old son Archie in Canada by the end of this week after crisis talks with his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II concluded "constructively". The 93-year-old monarch agreed to a transition period for the royal couple as the finer details of their semi-independent role are worked out in the coming days. In the interim, the couple will be dividing their time between their home at Frogmore Cottage in south-east England and a mansion on Vancouver Island in Canada.
"I think they'll sort it out all the easier without any commentary from me," Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday when asked about the future security and other arrangements that need to be worked out for the royal couple. Johnson's remarks came as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said further talks are still required over who pays for the heavy security detail required for Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, when they are in Canada. "I think most Canadians are very supportive of having royals be here, but how that looks and what kind of costs are involved, there are still lots of discussions to have," he told Canadian TV.
Security requirements and the financial implications of the unprecedented split within the top rung of the UK royal family will be at the heart of the details yet to be worked out. Meanwhile, with a rare personalised and informal statement repeatedly referring to her "family", the Queen appears keen to ensure unity within her household as best as possible. Her message of support to Harry and Meghan was tinged with sadness as the statement made reference to her desire for the couple to remain full-time working members of the royal family but added that their wish to live a more independent life was understandable.
"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 notes after what the Queen described as "very constructive" discussions on Monday involving her grandsons Harry and William as well as their father Prince Charles. Meghan had been expected to join by phone from Canada but royal aides confirmed that there had been no need for that in the end. Some reports indicate that Harry spent a considerable time alone with his grandmother to explain his side of things before the other members of the family joined the discussions.
The urgent talks at Sandringham were convened by the Queen after Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, went public with their plans for a "progressive new role" within the royal protocol last week. The final draft for their new roles worked out by royal aides is expected to prove a blueprint for the future generations of Britain's royal household. Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, his brother William, the Duke of Cambridge, and their father Charles, the Prince of Wales, had all been invited to the emergency meeting at the Queen's Sandringham estate in Norfolk.
It was the first time the monarch came face-to-face with Harry since the Sussex crisis exploded to determine the couple's future roles and decide if they will retain their royal titles as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.