Prince Harry and Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle with Prince William and his wife Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, in 2018. File picture: Chris Jackson/Reuters

London - Britain's Prince Harry is expected to meet his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, and other senior royals on Monday to discuss his plans to "step back" from royal duties.

Harry and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, made a surprise announcement on Wednesday that they will seek a lower profile, build financial independence and divide their time between Britain and North America as they "carve out a progressive new role."

The queen will hold talks with her grandson at her Sandringham estate in eastern England on the future roles of Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, the BBC and other British media quoted royal sources as saying.

Buckingham Palace and Harry and Meghan have not confirmed plans for a meeting.

Many commentators and British tabloid newspapers have criticized the couple's plans.

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“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. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. We now 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. This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity. We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.” - The Duke and Duchess of Sussex For more information, please visit sussexroyal.com (link in bio) Image © PA

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The criticism intensified on Friday after the palace confirmed that US-born former actress Meghan had flown to Canada, where she had lived for several years while filming the popular television drama "Suits."

Harry and Meghan also said they plan to restrict media access and withdraw from a rota system for media coverage of the royal family.

Their announcement came after they had denounced intrusive and inaccurate media reporting, as well as the vitriol directed toward them on social media, including racist attacks against Meghan, whose mother is black.

Harry and Meghan had returned earlier last week from a six-week break in Canada, a member of the Commonwealth, with their 8-month-old son Archie.

dpa