In every sense, this was an exit from the Royal Family by Harry and Meghan

We always knew this statement would be big, but when it came it felt huge.

The Queen spoke of a “constructive and supportive way” forward for her grandson.

This was not an easy decision nor was it an easy process.

And it was particularly significant that the Queen spoke of how she recognised the “intense scrutiny over the last two years” which had effectively pushed Harry and Meghan out.

But she speaks in a very personal way when she says “Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family”.

She also wrote how Meghan “has so quickly become one of the family.”

It’s clear they don’t want there to be any hint of tension over this decision – but we know a lot of it has been going on behind the scenes.

So, despite the acrimony which erupted when Harry and Meghan made their big announcement last week, the Queen spoke of “many months of conversations” and then “more recent discussions”.

The Sussexes did not want people to think they had “blindsided” their family with this – so it suggests they had at least mentioned the plan in some informal way before Christmas.

The couple have the permission from the Queen to stay in Frogmore Cottage but in what was perhaps a very wise move on Harry and Meghan's part, they have decided to reimburse the Sovereign Grant – the £2.4 million that it cost to refurbish it.

They will also pay rent and the running costs going forward to deflect any criticism.

That is important as they will spend the “majority of their time” - said a Palace source - in North America.

The Sussexes did not want people to think they had “blindsided” their family. Credit: PA

Harry will drop all his military titles – including Captain General of the Royal Marines, which he was handed by his grandfather the Duke of Edinburgh after his retirement in his mid-90s.

Harry and Meghan’s “more independent life” as it has been called, will involve making money themselves but they have pledged that any commercial deal they do in the future will continue to “uphold the values of the Queen.”

And while they will take no further money from the Sovereign Grant, the publicly funded part of the Royal fiances, Harry’s father, the Prince of Wales, has confirmed he will continue to fund the Sussexes from his private estate, the Duchy of Cornwall.

The Queen wishes Harry and Meghan a “happy and peaceful new life”.

There has been a lot of speculation about whether or not this was an “exit” from the Royal Family by Harry and Meghan.

It certainly feels that way now.