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Helen Mirren knows a thing or two about the Royal Family. The 74-year-old actress won an Oscar for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in the movie The Queen and played Her Majesty in the Broadway production of The Audience.
So, what are her thoughts on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle‘s royal exit?
“I think their instincts are absolutely right, and I applaud them for it. Hugely actually,” the star, who was given the title of Dame in 2003, told Variety in an interview published Thursday. “Of course, it is complicated.”
She also had high praise for the Duchess of Sussex.
“Meghan Markle was a fantastic addition to the royal family—charming, did everything right, was gracious, was sweet natured, and seemed to be…Wow! What a lovely addition. Didn’t seem to be neurotic…So, I think it is a loss in a way, but at the same time I think their instincts are absolutely correct. And I think it will all, hopefully, sort itself out, and the tabloid pearl-clutchers will get over their trauma at not having someone to attack all the time. They’ll find another victim…probably me,” she continued with a laugh.
Harry and Meghan announced their plans to step back as “senior” members of the Royal Family in January. They also shared their intent to “become financially independent” and to split their time between the U.K. and North America.
Harry met with The Queen and the Royal Households shortly after to figure out next steps. A formal agreement was shared later that month.
Per the agreement, Harry and Meghan must step back from royal duties, including military appointments, and they will no longer receive public funds for such duties. While Harry and Meghan hoped to continue to represent Her Majesty, they can no longer do so in a formal capacity. However, according to a Buckingham Palace statement, “the Sussexes have made clear that everything they do will continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty.”
The duke and duchess will also maintain their private patronages and associations.
While Harry and Meghan will retain their “HRH” titles, they will no longer actively use these prefixes. Although, they will continue to be known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as well as by their additional titles: the Earl and Countess of Dumbarton and Baron and Baroness of Kilkeel. A spokesperson for the couple also confirmed that Harry remains sixth in line to the throne. Furthermore, he will retain the ranks of Major, Lieutenant Commander and Squadron Leader.
Th couple will start this next chapter March 31. New details regarding their nonprofit organization will also be announced later this year, the spokesperson added.
In addition, The Queen made it clear Harry, Meghan and their son, Archie Harrison, “will always be much loved members of my family.”
“I recognize the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life,” Her Majesty said in a statement in January. “I want to thank them for all their dedicated work across this country, the Commonwealth and beyond, and am particularly proud of how Meghan has so quickly become one of the family. It is my whole family’s hope that today’s agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life.”
Harry, Meghan and Archie have been spending time in Canada. Although, the duke recently returned to the U.K. for the Travalyst Sustainable Tourism Summit in Edinburgh, where he asked to be referred to as just “Harry.”
Mirren isn’t the only star to stand by the Sussexes. David Beckham has, as well.
“Harry’s a friend, you know, and we’re very proud of the Royal Family,” the soccer star said on Thursday’s episode of Today. “You know, I’m a big royalist. You know, seeing him grow into being a great father, you know, that’s one thing that he’d always cared about. I just hope that Harry’s OK and he’s, you know, becoming the best father, and I can see that that’s happening.”
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