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Queen Elizabeth II to hold face-to-face talks with senior royals on future role for Harry and Meghan

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By Euronews  with AP
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, and Meghan the Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry watch a flypast of Royal Air Force aircraft pass over Buckingham Palace in London
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, and Meghan the Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry watch a flypast of Royal Air Force aircraft pass over Buckingham Palace in London   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File   -   Matt Dunham

Queen Elizabeth II will hold face-to-face talks on Monday with Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry to discuss the future roles of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, a palace source confirmed to Euronews.

It comes days after the couple seemingly caught everyone off guard by announcing their intentions to step back as senior members of the family.

The talks are being conducted without Meghan Markle who flew back to Canada to be reunited with the couple's eight-month-old son Archie, Buckingham Palace confirmed on Friday.

Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, could join Monday's talks over the phone although the palace would not confirm whether she planned to.

The Duke and Duchess spent the last six weeks of 2019 in North America and the holiday season at a secluded luxury home on Vancouver Island.

The talks were triggered after the couple released a "personal message" on Wednesday in which they revealed their plans to scale down their royal engagements and "become financially independent". They also stated that they would split their time between the UK and North America.

According to British media, the Queen, 93, held a conference call on Friday with her son Prince Charles, and grandsons Prince William and Prince Harry.

The monarch is believed to have also asked courtiers to work speedily with the couple and the government to find a solution. Harry, 35, is sixth in line to the throne and one of the most popular members of the royal family.

In British media, courtiers have been offering different accounts of the events leading up to the release of the Duke and Duchess's statement. Some, close to the couple, have refuted that they blindsided the rest of the institution, while others have described the family as "hurt".

The Sunday Times wrote on Sunday that a friend of Prince William said the royal was sad that he and his brother were now "separate entities".

The public and media have been similarly divided over the issue with both praise and criticism showered on the couple.

Of particular interest is whether Harry and Meghan should continue to hold their HRH (His and Her Royal Highness) title and receive money from the Duchy of Cornwall, controlled by the immediate heir to the throne, Prince Charles.

The Duke and Duchess said they wanted the "ability to earn a professional income" for which they were willing to give up their share of the Sovereign Grant — the taxpayer-funded mechanism through which the royal family is partially paid. But most — 95% — of their income originated from the Duchy of Cornwall last year.

According to pollster YouGov, 45% of Brits support the couple's decision to step back from their royal role compared to the 26% who opposes to it. Most also don't believe that it would damage the Firm, as it is known in the UK.

However, a vast majority — 63% — came out against them receiving an income from the Duchy of Cornwall.

Harry and Meghan have considerable assets of their own with Harry believed to have inherited at least £14 million (€16.4 million) from his late mother and great-grandmother. Markle, 38, had a successful acting career before marrying into the royal family.