UK's Queen Elizabeth agrees to grandson Harry's wishes after crisis talks

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In this Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017 file photo, Britain's Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, left, and Prince Harry arrive to visit the Support4Grenfell Community Hub in London. (AP)
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In this file photo dated Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015, Britain's Prince William, right, Prince Harry, left, attend the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph in London. (AP)
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Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is joined by Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, and at rear, from left, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William, Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex during a reception at Buckingham Palace, London. (File/AP)
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Updated 13 January 2020

UK's Queen Elizabeth agrees to grandson Harry's wishes after crisis talks

  • Queen and family held talks with Prince Harry at rural estate
  • William, Harry issue joint statement criticising paper report

SANDRINGHAM: Queen Elizabeth has given her blessing to her grandson Prince Harry and his wife Meghan's wish for a more independent future after an urgent meeting on Monday to resolve the rift in the British royal family.
Harry and his American actress wife Meghan triggered the crisis by announcing last week that they wished to step back from royal duties and spend more time in North America.
After a meeting at the queen's rural Sandringham estate in eastern England also attended by Harry's father and heir to the throne, Prince Charles, and his elder brother, Prince William, the 93-year-old Elizabeth said the family supported the couple's plans.
"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," the monarch said in a statement.
"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."
Last week's shock announcement by Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, exposed divisions in the Windsor family and prompted soul-searching over what it means to be royal in the 21st century.
The couple consulted neither the queen nor Charles before their announcement, made on Instagram and their own website, a step seen as impertinent and premature by a family whose roots go back through a thousand years of European history.
Meghan is currently in Canada with their infant son Archie. She had been expected to join Monday's discussion by telephone.
She and Harry say they want a "progressive" new role for themselves and financial independence, which could mean working in the United States where Meghan is from.
But it is unclear how they will pull off a partial pullback from royal roles - which some media have dubbed "Megxit" in a play on Britain's tortuous Brexit departure from the European Union - or who will pay for a transatlantic lifestyle.
"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," the queen said in her statement.


Britain orders 10,000 ventilators from F1, aerospace consortium

Updated 20 min 45 sec ago

Britain orders 10,000 ventilators from F1, aerospace consortium

  • ‘These devices will help to save lives by ensuring that ventilators, a limited resource, are used only for the most severely ill’

LONDON: Britain has ordered more than 10,000 ventilators from a consortium of leading aerospace, engineering and technology companies, with production to begin this week.

The group, including Airbus, BAE Systems, Ford and Formula One racing teams, said it expected to get a very prompt regulatory sign off after the final audit.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson made an urgent appeal earlier this month for manufacturers to start making specialist health equipment including ventilators ahead of an expected peak of the coronavirus pandemic that could overwhelm the health service.

Vacuum cleaner company Dyson has said it has also received an order of a newly-made ventilator.

The engineering consortium will accelerate production of an agreed new design, based on existing technologies, which can be assembled from materials and parts in current production.

“This consortium brings together some of the most innovative companies in the world,” Dick Elsy, the head of the consortium said in a statement. “I am confident this consortium has the skills and tools to make a difference and save lives.”