On Wednesday, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex sent the royals spinning with the announcement that they would be drastically changing their roles in the British monarchy

By Adam Carlson
January 10, 2020 04:58 PM

President Donald Trump said Friday he didn’t really want to get into it but that he found the bombshell news that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry would “step back” from the royal family “sad.”

Trump’s comments are set to air as part of a sit-down on Friday night with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham.

Asked about his feelings on the royals, Trump uncharacteristically demurred, according to a preview clip from the interview.

“I don’t want to get into the whole thing but I find it — I just have such respect for the Queen,” he told Ingraham. “I don’t think this should be happening to her.”

“I think it’s sad, I do, I think it’s sad,” he said elsewhere in the interview.

From left: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry

On Wednesday, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex sent the royals spinning — as well as the entire wider world of royal observers — with the announcement that they would be drastically changing their roles in the British monarchy.

Many questions remain unanswered but, essentially, Meghan, 38, and Harry, 35, plan to become “financially independent” royals who split their time between the U.K. and North America while still carrying out some slimmed-down amount of official functions and charity work.

The couple has also launched a new website with detailed questions and answers about their move.

“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,” the couple wrote on Instagram on Wednesday. “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.

Such an arrangement is without precedent in modern British history and the timing of their decision is said to have surprised Queen Elizabeth and others, though she and Prince Charles had been in somewhat preliminary discussions with Harry about his and Meghan’s desire to change their roles.

From left: President Donald Trump, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty; Samir Hussein/WireImage

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The president is a noted fan of the Queen, having gushed over their time together during his visits to the U.K., but has had less kind things to say about Meghan.

Last year, he said she had been “nasty” for criticizing him during the 2016 presidential campaign, when she was an actress on the legal drama Suits.

Meghan was not in attendance at either of President Trump’s U.K. visits last year: She was on maternity leave during the first and she and Harry were away for the holiday with their 8-month-old son, Archie, during the second.

Following Meghan and Harry’s announcement this week, Buckingham Palace issued a brief statement that discussions were in the “early stages.” Meghan has since returned to Canada to be with Archie while Harry remains in London to reach an agreement with the other royals.

President Trump’s full interview with Ingraham airs Friday at 10 p.m. (ET) on Fox News.