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story.lead_photo.caption FILE - In this Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017 file photo, Britain's Prince William, left, and Prince Harry arrive for an event at the memorial garden in Kensington Palace, London. Britain's Queen Elizabeth II is set to hold face-to-face talks Monday, Jan. 13, 2020 with Prince Harry for the first time since he and his wife, Meghan, unveiled their controversial plan to walk away from royal roles — at a dramatic family summit meant to chart a future course for the couple. The meeting at the monarch's private Sandringham estate in eastern England will also include Harry's father Prince Charles and his brother Prince William. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

SANDRINGHAM, England -- Britain's pragmatic queen brokered a deal Monday to secure the future of the monarchy, charting a course for Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, that allows them to live part time in Canada while still remaining firmly tied to the House of Windsor.

The decision followed a summit at Queen Elizabeth II's Sandringham estate in eastern England that sought to resolve the conundrum of what to do with royals who only want the job part time. The British monarch said in a statement that the summit of senior royals was "constructive," and that it had been "agreed that there will be a period of transition" to sort things out during which Meghan and Harry will spend time in both Canada and the U.K.

"My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan's desire to create a new life as a young family," the queen said in a statement that offered a demonstrably soft tone. "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."

Royal statements are usually sticklers for protocol, but the queen referred to "my grandson and his family" and "Harry and Meghan" rather than using the couple's formal title, Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

The summit marked the first face-to-face talks with Harry since he and Meghan unveiled their controversial wish last week to step back from their royal roles, become financially independent and split their time between Britain and North America. The meeting reflected the queen's desire to contain the fallout from the independence announcement, which prompted hurt feelings among senior family members not told in advance of the decision.

But by midday Monday, the House of Windsor showed signs of pulling together. Princes William and Harry issued a joint statement slamming a newspaper report describing a severe strain in their relationship, calling the story offensive and potentially harmful.

Though the statement did not name the newspaper, the Times of London has a front page story about the crisis in which a source alleged that Harry and Meghan had been pushed away by the "bullying attitude" from William. The joint statement insisted that the story was "false."

"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," the statement said.

The queen said after Monday's meeting that these were "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."

One of the trickier questions that needs to be worked out is precisely what it means for a royal to be financially independent and what activities can be undertaken to make money. Other royals who have ventured into the world of commerce have found it complicated.

Sophie, the countess of Wessex, sought to keep her public relations firm going after her marriage to the queen's third son, Prince Edward, only to find herself embroiled in controversy when she was tricked by the "Fake Sheikh" -- an undercover reporter offering a lucrative contract for her firm.

Sophie hinted that if the "sheikh" paid for the firm's services he would get greater publicity because of her royal role. In the end, both Sophie and Edward, who ran a television company, gave up their businesses to become full-time royals in 2002.

Prince Andrew, who was a UK trade envoy, has faced heated questions about his relationship with the late convicted sex offender and financier, Jeffrey Epstein, whom Andrew has said was beneficial to making useful contacts. The queen's second son has relinquished royal duties and patronages after being accused by a woman who says she was an Epstein trafficking victim who slept with the prince.

Harry and Meghan also face questions about paying for security, which is currently taxpayer-funded. Home Secretary Priti Patel refused to comment, but said safety was a priority and added that "royal family themselves need some time and space for them to work through the current issues that they're dealing with."

Meghan, who is American, has longstanding ties to Canada, having lived in Toronto while filming the popular TV series, "Suits." On Friday, she returned to Canada, where the couple and 8-month-old Archie spent a six-week holiday break out of the public eye.

International on 01/14/2020

Print Headline: Queen agrees to let Harry, Meghan move part time to Canada

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