Jan. 13 (UPI) -- Following an unprecedented summit meeting with members of the British royal family Monday, Queen Elizabeth II said she respects the wishes of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to step back from official duties.
The summit was attended by Prince Harry, his brother Prince William and father Prince Charles. The group discussed how to proceed after the couple announced their intentions last week to step back from official duties and split time between Europe and North America.
The queen said she is "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," she said in a statement.
Since the duke and duchess of Sussex have said they no longer wish to tap public funds for their income, royal family members agreed at the meeting to institute a "period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the U.K.," the queen said.
"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 made the announcement -- without prior approval -- last week in an Instagram post, which was said to disappoint the queen and other members of the family.
The couple said in their announcement they wished to create a "progressive new role" within the monarchy, establish financial independence and split their time between the two continents. Such a transition is unprecedented in modern royal history.
By removing themselves from the traditional roles, Harry and Meghan would no longer be based full-time in Britain -- where Harry is sixth in line to the throne after his father, brother and William's children, George, Charlotte and Louis.