Prince Harry and his wife Meghan will give up their “royal highness” titles and will leave their roles as senior members of the royal family as they embark on a more independent future, Buckingham Palace said.

In a statement released on Saturday, the palace also said Harry and Meghan will no longer receive public funds, and they will repay money spent on the refurbishment of their cottage at Windsor, west of London in the United Kingdom.

The statement comes after the queen held talks with the couple about their future, following their announcement that they wanted to “step back” as senior royals and divide their time between the UK and Canada. The new arrangement comes into effect in spring this year, the palace said.

The queen said following “many months of conversations and more recent discussions” she was “pleased that together we have found a constructive and supportive way forward for my grandson and his family”, adding that she hoped the change would allow the couple “to start building a happy and peaceful new life”.

“Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,” the statement continued.

She thanked them for their “dedicated work”, adding that she was “particularly proud of how Meghan has so quickly become one of the family”.

The couple married in May 2018 in a lavish ceremony at Windsor Castle, in front of millions global TV audience.

Reuters reported that Harry will remain a prince and the couple will keep their titles of Duke and Duchess of Sussex, but they will not take part in any future ceremonial events or royal tours. It added that Meghan is currently in Canada with Archie and Harry is expected to join her soon.

Royal commentators said that under the warm words, the queen had taken a firm and decisive line.

“It is harder to think of a much cleaner break than this. Harry and Meghan are still members of the Royal Family, but they are effectively no longer royal”, the BBC’s royal correspondent, Jonny Dymond, said.

Last year, Harry and Meghan spoke about the difficulties of royal life and media attention. The duke said he feared his wife would fall victim to “the same powerful forces” that led to his mother’s death.

The BBC reports that some questions about the couple’s future status remain unanswered, including what their tax and immigration status will be in the UK and Canada.

It said that while the couple intends to divide their time between the UK and Canada, it is expected that they will spend the majority of their time in Canada.

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