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Queen allows Meghan Markle and Harry 'transition' to split time between Canada and UK

Entertainment By Mirror
Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle have their hearts set on Canada (Image: PA)

Speculation that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's plan is to move to Canada has been officially confirmed by the Queen.

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The Monarch last night issued an extraordinary statement confirming she would allow Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to step back from royal life, but that she would have preferred they remain full-time royals.

The Queen says Buckingham Palace will support the couple's desire to split their time between the UK and Canada following the royal inner circle's first round of crisis talks over the pair's future.

She tonight offered support to the young royals in their bid to step back from royal life in her first public statement since the pair's bombshell announcement, saying a transition period would begin soon.

The Monarch's statement has finally confirmed speculation that the pair wish to move to the key Commonwealth nation.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's carefully worded announcement last week had revealed their desire to split their time between Britain and "North America - but it did not specifically name Canada.

But speculation was rife that the couple had their hearts set on Canada before the Queen tonight confirmed it.

American-born Meghan Markle considers the Ontario city of Toronto her adoptive home after being based there while she starred in popular US legal drama Suits.

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She is said to have spent much of her early courtship with Harry there, and she has many friends in the city.

The Queen pictured on Sunday leaving church (Image: Getty Images)

Clues Canada was the focus of the couple's plans following the announcement included Meghan quickly flying back to Canada to join baby Archie shortly after the news of the couple's wishes became public.

The couple had also spent an extended period over Thanksgiving and Christmas in Canada with their son shortly before they revealed their wishes to step back from senior royal duties.

It also emerged the couple had used a Canadian designer to produce the Sussex Royal website they used to issue the surprise announcement last week.

The unprecedented gathering at the Queen's estate in Norfolk on Monday evening was attended by the Duke of Sussex, 35, his grandmother the Queen, 93, Prince Charles, 71, and Prince William, 37.

It was the first time Harry had come face to face with them since his and Meghan Markle's stepping back announcement last week which rocked Buckingham Palace.

Meghan, meanwhile, was with their baby son Archie in Canada, but a royal source said earlier it was likely she joined the crisis talks by phone.

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Canada is where the couple chose to reveal their love to the world - making their first public appearance as a couple in Toronto at the Invictus Games in 2017.

While they say they will base themselves at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, it has yet to be revealed where in Canada they will start their new life - and find a second home.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry at the Invictus Games Toronto 2017 in September 25, 2017 (Image: WireImage)

Meghan previously had a home in Toronto, said to be a two-storey townhouse.

One of her closest friends is Canadian stylist and TV star Jessica Mulroney, who is married to Ben Mulroney, son of former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.

Back in December 2016, Harry reportedly made a 1,700-mile detour from his trip to the Caribbean to see Meghan at her Toronto home.

She has established links to the city, where the couple's romance blossomed quietly before their relationship hit the spotlight.

But the couple have also displayed an affection for British Columbia, after they stayed in the province during their six-week winter break this Christmas.

They were at one point spotted hiking on Vancouver Island, which could offer a sanctuary for the young family in its remote and private landscapes away from the public eye.

The Queen's full statement

"Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family.

"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.

"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."

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