Following the shock announcement by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex less than a fortnight ago, that they intended to step back from their position as senior members of the royal family, the world has waited with baited breath to see what the outcome of the deal will be.
Now, the palace has confirmed that “following many months of conversations” – which suggests that the Queen has been aware of their desires for a while – a deal has been struck that will allow Prince Harry and Meghan to carve out a new life as a young family of three, splitting their time between North America and the UK.
As part of the deal, the couple will drop their HRH titles as they are no longer working members of the royal family. They will also no longer receive public funds for royal duties, with the terms of the deal coming into effect in Spring 2020 (UK time).
And, following a backlash from the British public, the couple have also agreed to pay back the £2.4 million (AU$4.6 million) of public funds that was spent on refurbishing their UK home Frogmore Cottage, which they will keep as part of the deal.
A palace spokesperson added: “As agreed in this new arrangement, they understand that they are required to step back from Royal duties, including official military appointments. They will no longer receive public funds for Royal duties.
“With The Queen’s blessing, the Sussexes will continue to maintain their private patronages and associations. While they can no longer formally represent The Queen, the Sussexes have made clear that everything they do will continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty.”
The only aspect of the deal that has not yet been clarified is the couple’s security arrangement, as the palace added: “Buckingham Palace does not comment on the details of security arrangements. There are well established independent processes to determine the need for publicly-funded security.”
Her Majesty the Queen also released a very personal statement regarding the news, in which she thanked the couple for their work in recent years and described her pride at how quickly Meghan has “become one of the family”.
“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 Queen said. “Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family.”
She added: “I recognise the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life.
“I want to thank them 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.
“It is my whole family’s hope that today’s agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life.”
It has not yet been confirmed when Prince Harry will leave the United Kingdom and fly to Canada to be reunited with his wife and eight-month-old son Archie Harrison. Meghan has been spotted out in Vancouver on a number of occasions already, having flown back to the country a week ago after spending just a matter of days on English soil.