Meghan Markle did not take part in the “Sandringham summit” to discuss her and Prince Harry’s future, a royal source has confirmed.
Harry met with Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles and Prince William at the monarch’s private estate in Norfolk, U.K., on Monday. It was the first time Harry had faced his grandmother after he and wife Meghan issued a bombshell statement announcing that they intended to step back from their roles as senior royals last week.
Meghan has returned to Canada, where she and Harry spent the Christmas break with their son Archie, and reports had indicated she would participate in the talks on Monday by phone.
But a royal source confirmed to Newsweek that Meghan ended up not joining in. “In the end, the Sussexes decided that it wasn’t necessary for the duchess to join,” the source said. Buckingham Palace declined to comment.
On Monday evening, the queen issued a statement saying the talks had been “very constructive” and that she had agreed to a “period of transition” in which Harry and Meghan would spend time in Canada and the U.K. She also expressed her regret at the situation, saying she would have preferred them to remain as full-time working royals.
In what was described as an extremely personal missive, the queen made several references to “my family” and also eschewed referring to the couple as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, instead simply calling them Harry and Meghan.
“Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family,” the statement said.
“My family and I are 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.
“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.”