LONDON – Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, will give up the titles of “royal highness” and are no longer to be paid for royal duties with public funds, Buckingham Palace announced Saturday.
“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,” Queen Elizabeth II said in a statement.
The announcement comes 10 days after the duke and duchess of Sussex said they wished to “step back” from their roles as senior members of the UK royal family and to pursue a more independent life that would involve dividing their time between the United Kingdom and North America.
Markle, a California native who spent 15 years as an actress, made her home in Canada while working on the television series “Suits,” filmed in Toronto, and is reported to be looking at houses in Vancouver.
Meghan and the couple’s infant son, Archie, have been in Canada for the last several weeks.
Besides forgoing compensation for royal duties, Harry and Meghan plan to pay back the 2.4 million pounds ($3.06 million) in public funds that went to renovate Frogmore Cottage, near Windsor Castle, which is to remain their UK residence.
“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,” Buckingham Palace said.
“The Sussexes will not use their HRH (His/Her Royal Highness) titles as they are no longer working members of the Royal Family,” the palace said.
Even so, Harry will remain a prince and the sixth person in the line of succession to the 93-year-old queen, following his father, Prince Charles; and brother, Prince William; and William’s three children.
“Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,” Elizabeth II said Saturday. “I recognize 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.”
“It is my whole family’s hope that today’s agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life,” the queen said.
A few weeks before Christmas, the couple’s unease about living in the constant glare of the media spotlight was highlighted in a documentary aired on Britain’s ITV television.
One of the most dramatic moments saw Harry say that he refused to be forced into playing the game that “killed my mother,” referring to Princess Diana, who died in August 1997 in Paris in an automobile accident as she was being pursued by paparazzi.
While Meghan was nearly moved to tears while answering questions from a journalist interviewing her, prompting comparisons in the British press to the 1995 interview in which Diana she spoke openly for the first time about her relationship with Prince Charles.