The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have walked away from the monarchy, issuing an unprecedented statement that outlines how they will “no longer formally represent the Queen”.
Harry and Meghan will stop carrying out royal duties from the spring, will stop using HRH and will repay the taxpayers’ millions spent on their Berkshire home.
The announcement marks the conclusion of talks about their future with senior members of the family and royal aides.
The Queen issued an emotional statement saying she recognised the “challenges” they had faced over the past year, adding: “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.”
The couple’s spokeswoman issued a statement on their behalf saying: “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 Queen’s statement included a personal tribute to the Sussexes with the monarch unusually using the first names of her grandson and his family in a public message.
She said: “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.
“Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family.
“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.”
The Queen, who took control of the crisis that threatened to permanently damage the monarchy, concluded by saying: “It is my whole family’s hope that today’s agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life.”
Meghan and Harry have already begun a transition phase of living in Canada and the UK. The duchess is in the Commonwealth country with son Archie where the Sussexes spent six weeks over the festive period.
The move was agreed by the Queen, Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge following the Sussexes unprecedented statement released earlier this month saying they wanted to step back as senior royals and become financially independent.
The Sussexes keep the style of HRH – His or Her Royal Highness – but the statement issued on their behalf said it will no longer be used from the spring, “as they are no longer working members of the Royal Family”.
Royal accounts published last summer revealed £2.4 million of tax-payers’ money was spent on Meghan and Harry’s grade-II listed Frogmore Cottage home near Windsor Castle, turning five properties back into a single residence for the couple and their baby son Archie.
The amount spent was heavily criticised at the time by the organisation Republic, which campaigns for an elected head of state, but all fixtures and fittings for the home close to Windsor Castle were paid for privately by the duke and duchess.
But in a move that reveals the couple may have been trying to avoid a public backlash over the funds spent on the home, they have said they want to repay the amount.
The Queen has said Frogmore will remain their home, and when the couple are in the UK they are likely to stay at the property and will pay a commercial rent on it.
The couple’s statement said they “will no longer receive public funds for Royal duties”, one of the requests of the Sussexes who said on their new website they wanted to step away from public money so they could be financially independent.
A source has told PA News that Charles will continue to offer “private financial support” to the couple.