The Queen Agrees to ‘Period of Transition’ for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Harry and Meghan

Buckingham Palace has released a statement from the Queen following Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s landmark decision to step down as senior members of the royal family.

“Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family,” it read.

“My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family. Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working Members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family.

“Harry and Meghan have made clear that they do not want to be reliant on public funds in their new lives. It has therefore been agreed that there will be a period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the UK. 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 comes after a private meeting was held by the Queen at Sandringham, with the Prince of Wales, Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex in attendance. Meghan was believed to now have not been part of the call due to security reasons while she stayed in Canada with eight-month-old, Archie.

During the statement, the Queen omitted using the couple’s royal titles, an unprecedented move from the Monarch, who always refers to them as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

This move prompted questions from the public whether Harry and Meghan would keep their royal titles, however, royal historian and biographer of the Queen, Robert Lacey, told PEOPLE that despite the fact the titles weren’t used, it’s unlikely that the monarch will strip them of their titles.

“The very next line refers to them as the Sussexes. They won’t have HRH taken away any more than the Duke of Windsor did,” he said.

On January 8, Prince Harry and Meghan announced that they would be “stepping back as senior members of the royal family” and working towards becoming financially independent.

“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen.

“It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages.

“This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity. We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.”