Queen El­iz­a­beth II

The Washington Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY KARLA ADAM AND WIL­LIAM BOOTH [email protected]­post.com wil­[email protected]­post.com

has agreed to a tran­si­tion pe­riod in which Harry and Meghan split time be­tween Bri­tain and Canada.

LON­DON — Queen El­iz­a­beth II an­nounced Mon­day that she and her royal fam­ily were “en­tirely sup­port­ive of Harry and Meghan’s de­sire to cre­ate a new life” and that she had agreed to a “pe­riod of tran­si­tion” dur­ing which her grand­son and his wife would split their time be­tween Canada and Bri­tain.

In a state­ment, the queen wrote: “Although we would have pre­ferred them to re­main full­time 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 queen ac­knowl­edged that Harry and Meghan — she omit­ted their royal ti­tles — “made clear that they do not want to be re­liant on pub­lic funds in their new lives,” but she did not de­scribe their new du­ties or ven­tures.

She cau­tioned there is more work to be done on the “com­plex mat­ters for the fam­ily to de­cide” and said she ex­pects fi­nal de­ci­sions to be made in the com­ing days.

The queen — a sturdy ne­go­tia­tor who has worked with 14 prime min­is­ters dur­ing her reign — may be of­fer­ing a bit of a “cool­ing off ” pe­riod to the young roy­als, not ex­pect­ing them to re­verse them­selves, but per­haps to give them a chance to de­cide in fa­vor of a less dra­matic break.

The an­nounce­ment from the 93-year-old sov­er­eign and leader of the House of Wind­sor fol­lowed an ex­tra­or­di­nary meet­ing at her San­dring­ham es­tate at­tended by her grand­sons Harry and Wil­liam and her son and first heir, Prince Charles. It is be­lieved that Meghan, who is in Canada, par­tic­i­pated by phone.

The queen’s at­tempt to set­tle mat­ters comes af­ter a re­mark­able few days.

The palace was caught off guard by the tim­ing of Harry and Meghan’s an­nounce­ment, via In­sta­gram on Wed­nes­day, that they would be “step­ping back” from their roles as se­nior roy­als and wanted to split their time be­tween Bri­tain and North Amer­ica.

The queen’s state­ment Mon­day was the first con­fir­ma­tion that Canada was the place they had in mind.

Ear­lier Mon­day, Wil­liam and Harry is­sued their own joint state­ment, bat­ting down “of­fen­sive and po­ten­tially harm­ful” re­ports that bul­ly­ing by Wil­liam had pushed Harry and Meghan away.

De­ci­sions about Harry and Meghan’s new roles could have im­pli­ca­tions for the fu­ture shape of the Bri­tish monar­chy and for roy­als down the line of suc­ces­sion.

The palace didn’t of­fer more de­tail on what was dis­cussed at Mon­day’s fam­ily sum­mit. Here are some of the is­sues that need sort­ing out.

1. A Bri­tain-canada time­share

Canada seems to have got­ten ap­proval as an ac­cept­able part­time home. It prob­a­bly helps that Canada is a Bri­tish Com­mon­wealth na­tion.

But where, ex­actly, in Canada? Toronto, where Meghan lived while film­ing the TV show “Suits”? Van­cou­ver Is­land, where they spent their Christ­mas va­ca­tion? A place like Yel­lowknife or Moose Jaw — where they re­ally wouldn’t have to worry about tabloid in­tru­sion?

How will they di­vide their time? And how will that in­flu­ence the new roles they take on? Will a part-time base in Canada af­fect the work they do for royal and U.k.-based char­i­ties, which they say they want to con­tinue? Will they be asked to take on broader re­spon­si­bil­i­ties re­lated to the monar­chy’s re­la­tion­ship with the com­mon­wealth?

2. Ti­tles and the royal brand

Harry is of­fi­cially “His Royal Highness The Duke of Sus­sex” and Meghan is “Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sus­sex.”

Will they keep some or any of those ti­tles? Was the queen sig­nal­ing a de­ci­sion by re­fer­ring to them first as “Harry and Meghan” and only later as “the Sus­sexes” in her state­ment?

When Harry’s par­ents divorced, Diana re­lin­quished her “HRH” ti­tle but kept “Princess of Wales.” Harry and Meghan have said they would like to con­tinue to carry out cer­tain du­ties for the queen, “as called upon.” But might giv­ing up their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties as full-time work­ing roy­als mean they have to lose the HRH part of their ti­tles, too?

They would prob­a­bly put up more of fight to keep the Sus­sex bit, a cour­tesy ti­tle given by the queen. They use the “Sus­sexroyal” on their In­sta­gram ac­count and new web­site. They are also seek­ing to reg­is­ter the Sus­sex Royal brand as a global trade­mark on a wide range of items, the Guardian re­ported.

Of course, the Bri­tish monar­chy is its own brand. And the queen, who serves as its chief protector, will want to make sure Harry and Meghan are care­ful

about avoid­ing com­mer­cial en­tan­gle­ments and other sit­u­a­tions that could un­der­mine the Crown.

3. In­come and taxes

The cou­ple say that they want to be “fi­nan­cially in­de­pen­dent” and that they “value the abil­ity to earn a pro­fes­sional in­come.” What will that ac­tu­ally mean? They say they will no longer ac­cept money from the tax­payer­funded Sov­er­eign Grant, which has cov­ered 5 per­cent of their ex­penses. But what about the mil­lions they re­ceive an­nu­ally from Harry’s fa­ther, through his in­her­ited Duchy of Corn­wall es­tate? That money has cov­ered 95 per­cent of their ex­penses. Will Charles con­tinue to sup­port them to such a large de­gree? Do they want him to?

There may also be dis­cus­sion about what kinds of jobs would be okay. Harry’s cousin Princess Beatrice works in fi­nance, and Princess Eu­ge­nie is an art gallery di­rec­tor. Meghan, a former ac­tress, has re­port­edly agreed to do voice-over work for Dis­ney in ex­change for a do­na­tion to the char­ity Ele­phants With­out Bor­ders. Would she take in a salary for that sort of work in the fu­ture? The royal fam­ily’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to re­main apo­lit­i­cal may play a strong role in guid­ing what work Harry and Meghan can un­der­take.

Courtiers have prob­a­bly out­lined the po­ten­tially com­pli­cated tax sit­u­a­tion the Sus­sexes could face. If they live for an ex­tended pe­riod of time in both Bri­tain and Canada, they may have to pay tax on their global earn­ings in both coun­tries.

4. Se­cu­rity

The roy­als will also need to de­ter­mine who foots the bill for Harry and Meghan’s se­cu­rity de­tail. As se­nior mem­bers of the royal fam­ily, they have been en­ti­tled to round-the-clock pro­tec­tion, paid for by the state. But ju­nior roy­als, such as Harry’s cousins, tra­di­tion­ally pay their own way.

Es­pe­cially if Harry and Meghan spend much of their time over­seas, Bri­tish tax­pay­ers may balk at pay­ing for their se­cu­rity.

The cou­ple is un­likely to want to skimp on per­sonal pro­tec­tion. Af­ter her di­vorce, Harry’s mother was ac­com­pa­nied by a less ex­pe­ri­enced se­cu­rity team, and that may have con­trib­uted to her death. Her driver, a se­cu­rity man from the Ho­tel Ritz, was speed­ing and in­tox­i­cated when he crashed their car in a Paris tun­nel, ac­cord­ing to the French in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

One of Harry and Meghan’s pri­mary com­plaints has been about ha­rass­ment and vi­o­la­tions of their pri­vacy. They will want se­cu­rity pro­fes­sion­als.

5. Re­la­tion­ships

Although they may be some of the most fa­mous peo­ple in the world, and although they rep­re­sent the some­what ab­stract no­tion of “the Crown,” the Bri­tish royal fam­ily is still a fam­ily. And its mem­bers will no doubt want to re­solve ques­tions re­lated to Harry and Meghan’s new role as am­i­ca­bly as pos­si­ble.

Much has been made about a pos­si­ble rift be­tween Harry and his brother, Wil­liam. The broth­ers sought to quash such spec­u­la­tion with their state­ment on Mon­day.

The two princes said, “De­spite clear de­nials, a false story ran in a UK news­pa­per to­day spec­u­lat­ing about the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the Duke of Sus­sex and the Duke of Cam­bridge. For broth­ers who care so deeply about the is­sues sur­round­ing men­tal health, the use of in­flam­ma­tory lan­guage in this way is of­fen­sive and po­ten­tially harm­ful.”

Harry and Wil­liam did not name the ar­ti­cle, but the Times of Lon­don car­ried a front-page story Mon­day, quot­ing an un­named source say­ing that Harry and Meghan thought they were “pushed away by what they saw as a bul­ly­ing at­ti­tude from the Duke of Cam­bridge.”

Putting an end to fur­ther spec­u­la­tion about di­vi­sions within the fam­ily may be one of the rea­sons the queen has sig­naled she wants a quick res­o­lu­tion.

LEON NEAL/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IM­AGES

HOL­LIE ADAMS/BLOOMBERG NEWS

Mem­bers of the royal fam­ily met at the San­dring­ham es­tate, top, to dis­cuss the re­cent an­nounce­ment from Harry and Meghan, seen above on a post­card im­age of their wed­ding, that the cou­ple will step back as se­nior roy­als. For more, visit wapo.st/canadaroy­als.

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