Royal rift UK PM Johnson confident that family can sort out differences

    London, Jan 14 (PTI) British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday said he was "absolutely confident" that the Royal Family will "sort out" a future role for the Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, who stunned the nation with their announcement that they want to "step back" from being full-time working royals.
    The Duke and Duchess of Sussex made their bombshell announcement on Wednesday that they intend to "step back" from being frontline royals, split their time between the UK and North America, and work towards becoming "financially independent".
    This forced the 93-year-old Queen Elizabeth II to call an emergency meeting of the Royal Family on Monday at Sandringham, her residence in Norfolk, some 161 km north of London.
    A statement after the meeting said the Queen was supportive of Prince Harry and Meghan's move to step back from front line royal duties, and would work with them during a "period of transition" when the couple can divide their time between the UK and Canada.
    Reacting to the royal rift, Prime Minister Johnson told BBC Breakfast: "I am a massive fan... of the queen and the royal family as a fantastic asset for our country."
    "I think they'll sort it out all the easier without any commentary from me," Johnson said in his first major TV interview following December's general election.
     Johnson was asked what he thought of Prince Harry and Meghan's decision to "step back as 'senior members of the Royal Family" and divide their time between the UK and North America.
    Johnson said that while "everybody has got an opinion" on the situation, "the Royal Family is one of the great, great assets of this country and I'm sure they will sort it out".
    When asked about media intrusion and whether there were any colonial undertones in the coverage of Meghan, the Johnson said: "I don't think this is helped by running commentary by politicians".
    The Queen, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry attended Monday's meeting. Meghan, who is in Canada, was expected to join the meeting over phone. But she reportedly did not participate, according to some British media reports.
    Prince Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, also said they wanted a "progressive new role" within the institution, where they would be financially independent.
    Both also spoke of the difficulties of royal life and media attention in recent months, with the duke saying he feared his wife would fall victim to "the same powerful forces" that led to his mother Diana's tragic death in a car crash in Paris in 1997.
    Earlier, the Queen said the talks at Sandringham had been "very constructive".
    "My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan's desire to create a new life as a young family," she said.
    "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."
    She said it had been agreed there would be "a period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the UK" after Harry and Meghan "made clear that they do not want to be reliant on public funds in their new lives".
    The royal family was said to be "hurt" and "blindsided" by the couple's shock announcement, which they said was finalised after "many months of reflection and internal discussions". PTI AKJ AKJ

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)