Queen Elizabeth II says she supports the decision of her grandson, Prince Harry, and his wife Meghan Markle to step away from Britain’s royal family and carve out a new life in the UK and Canada.

In a statement released by the palace on Monday, she said the royal family had had “constructive discussions” on the future of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and was “entirely supportive’ of their 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,” the statement said.

“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.”

Harry and Meghan took Britain by surprise last week when they announced that they would be stepping back as members of the royal family. Meghan later flew back to Canada to be with the couple’s eight-month-old son, Archie.

Harry, 35, is one of the most popular members of the British royal family and has long had a difficult relationship with the UK media, particularly in the wake of negative coverage of his wife during their marriage and her pregnancy last year.

As recently as Monday, Harry and his brother, Prince William, lodged a formal complaint against a UK newspaper for its coverage over recent days.

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