A week after the Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex announced plans to step back from their duties as senior royals, Harry and Meghan have officially reached an agreement with the royal family, according to a new statement from Queen Elizabeth. The statement — which was shared on the Sussexes' official Instagram account on January 18 — is the second announcement that the Queen has made regarding her grandson's decision to renounce his royal duties and become financially independent.
"Following many months of conversations and more recent discussions, I am pleased that together we have found a constructive and supportive way forward for my grandson and his family," the statement reads, though the Queen declined to share the details of their new plan. Instead, the monarch reiterated her love and support for Harry, Meghan, and their son, Archie, declaring that the three of them will "always be much loved members of the family."
Queen Elizabeth's statement also referenced the "challenges" that the pair have faced during their ongoing conflict with the British press, and stated that she supports "their wish for a more independent life." She concluded her statement by writing that "it is my whole family's hope that today's agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful life."
While the Queen's statement didn't delve into many details about the discussions that took place, the BBC reports that Meghan and Harry will transition into their new roles by the spring of 2020, based on a statement from Buckingham Palace. As part of the Sussexes' agreement with the Royal Family, Meghan and Harry will no longer use their royal titles — although Harry will remain a prince — or receive public funds for royal duties, and they will no longer formally represent the Queen. The Sussexes will also likely spend most of their time in North America, although they plan to keep Frogmore Cottage as their family home whenever they return to the United Kingdom.
Meghan and Harry first announced their plans to step back from their royal duties on January 8, and though reports indicated that Buckingham Palace was "blindsided" by the news, a subsequent statement from the Palace indicated that the Queen was saddened by her grandson's decision, but understanding. "My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan's desire to create a new life as a young family," the Queen said in a statement on Jan. 13.
Both of Queen Elizabeth's statements seemed to refute reports of a rift in the royal family, as the monarch specifically praised Meghan in her most recent statement for how she has handled joining one of the most famous families in the world. "I want to thank [Meghan and Harry] for all their dedicated work across this country, the Commonwealth and beyond, and am particularly proud of how Meghan has so quickly become one of the family," the Queen said.
On January 14, Prince William and Harry released a rare statement of their own, responding to a "false" story from the UK outlet The Times that claimed William's "bullying" was what pushed Meghan and Harry to leave the Royal Family. "Despite clear denials, a false story ran in a U.K. newspaper today speculating about the relationship between The Duke of Sussex and The Duke of Cambridge," the statement said, per People. "For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful."
While the impact of Meghan and Harry's new roles will become clearer as their agreement with the royal family goes into effect, the many statements from Buckingham Palace and Queen Elizabeth suggest that although they're no longer officially royals, Meghan, Harry and Archie will always be part of the Queen's family.