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While royal fans have no way of knowing what kind of discussions have been going on behind closed doors about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s planned exit from the royal family, many have wondered if Queen Elizabeth attempted to convince the couple to change their mind. Her supportive statement included a little clue that hints she hoped they’d have a change of heart.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle queen
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry | Karwai Tang/WireImage

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made a big announcement

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s announcement about taking a “step back” indicated they had discussed things with the queen first. In part, they shared on Instagram: “After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen.”

They further noted how they “plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages.”

The couple shared that they would “continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties.”

The queen’s initial reaction pointed to “complicated issues”

Queen Elizabeth released a statement in response to the Sussexes’ announcement that noted how “complicated” things were and called for a special meeting to discuss the issue.

The queen shared: “Discussions with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage. We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.”

The queen offered her support, but wished she didn’t have to

Following a meeting with Prince Harry, Prince William, and Prince Charles to discuss the Sussexes’ plan to leave royal life, the queen issued a new statement, offering her support, but noting that she hoped for a different outcome.

The queen’s statement shared: “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,” the statement continued.

The queen further shared a “transition” period, explaining: “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.”

She added: “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.”

Did the queen try to change their minds?

According to Katie Nicholl, writing in an article for Vanity Fair, “Sources close to the Sussexes say the couple had already made up their minds about their future before the so called Sandringham Summit.”

Nicholl shared that, “according to a separate royal source, the Queen and her immediate family were hoping that the couple might reconsider their dramatic decision to step down.” She continued: “They did not and instead the Queen issued an unprecedented statement after yesterday’s family meeting saying that she and the family ‘would have preferred’ Harry and Meghan to stay as full time royals.”

According to yet another source, it’s believed that “the queen and the senior royals went into the talks hoping to convince Harry that he and Meghan are a very vital and much needed and loved part of the family,. No one wants to see the family break up like this, but Meghan and Harry seem quite determined to press ahead with their plans to split and become financially independent and do their own thing.”