Queen Elizabeth II has finalised the details regarding Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to step back as senior members of the royal family: The pair will no longer use their “royal highness” titles and will no longer receive public funds as of spring of this year.
The couple has also pledged to repay the British public for the pricey renovations they had done on Frogmore Cottage, which is owned by the royal family and which will continue to serve as their U.K. home. They plan to pay “commercial rent” on the property themselves, but will take up a new primary residence somewhere in North America.
“With The Queen’s blessing, the Sussexes will continue to maintain their private patronages and associations,” Buckingham Palace said a statement released Saturday. “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 changes mean that the couple, who are still Duke and Duchess of Sussex, will be free to earn their own income and are no longer “working royals.”
Notably, Harry will also remain a prince and technically hold onto his “HRH” title, but he will not use it. He will also continue to receive private funds from his father, Prince Charles.
In a personal statement of her own, the queen recognized the “intense scrutiny” her grandson and his wife have faced, and said that she was “particularly proud” of Meghan:
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.
It is my whole family’s hope that today’s agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced earlier this month that they are working to become financially independent and split time between the United Kingdom and Canada.
In an earlier statement, the queen said she was “entirely supportive” of Meghan and Harry’s new life following talks with Princes Charles, William and Harry at her Sandringham Estate.
“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 queen said at the time in a statement released by Buckingham Palace.