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Queen Elizabeth II calls for ‘crisis talks’ as Meghan returns to Canada

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Britain’s royal family were said to be having crisis talks on Friday to carve out new roles for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, two days after the couple seemingly caught everyone off guard by announcing their intentions to step back as senior members of the family.

The talks are being conducted without Meghan Markle who flew back to Canada to be reunited with the couple’s eight-month-old son Archie, Buckingham Palace confirmed on Friday. The Duke and Duchess spent the last six weeks of 2019 in North America and the holiday season at a secluded luxury home on Vancouver Island.

The talks were triggered after the couple released a “personal message” on Wednesday in which they revealed their plans to scale down their royal engagements and “become financially independent”. They also stated that they would split their time between the UK and North America.

According to British media, the Queen, 93, held a conference call on Friday with her son Prince Charles, and grandsons Prince William and Prince Harry.

The monarch is believed to have also asked courtiers to work speedily with the couple and the government to find a solution. Harry, 35, is sixth in line to the throne and one of the most popular members of the royal family.

In British media, courtiers have been offering different accounts of the events leading up to the release of the Duke and Duchess’s statement. Some, close to the couple, have refuted that they blindsided the rest of the institution, while others have described the family as “hurt”.

The public and media have been similarly divided over the issue with both praise and criticism showered on the couple.

Of particular interest is whether Harry and Meghan should continue to hold their HRH (His and Her Royal Highness) title and receive money from the Duchy of Cornwall, controlled by the immediate heir to the throne, Prince Charles.

The Duke and Duchess said they wanted the “ability to earn a professional income” for which they were willing to give up their share of the Sovereign Grant — the taxpayer-funded mechanism through which the royal family is partially paid. But most — 95% — of their income originated from the Duchy of Cornwall last year.

According to pollster YouGov, 45% of Brits support the couple’s decision to step back from their royal role compared to the 26% who opposes to it. Most also don’t believe that it would damage the Firm, as it is known in the UK.

However, a vast majority — 63% — came out against them receiving an income from the Duchy of Cornwall.

Harry and Meghan have considerable assets of their own with Harry believed to have inherited at least £14 million for his late mother and great-grandmother. Markle, 38, had a successful acting career before marrying into the royal family.

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