"I care about them both and support whatever decisions they make for their family," Oprah Winfrey tells PEOPLE

By Robyn Merrett
January 10, 2020 12:20 AM
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Oprah Winfrey is speaking out amid a report that she advised Meghan Markle and Prince Harry on their shocking move to step back as senior members of the Royal Family.

“Meghan and Harry do not need my help figuring out what’s best for them,” Winfrey, who famously attended the couple’s wedding in May 2018, tells PEOPLE.

“I care about them both and support whatever decisions they make for their family.”

Winfrey made headlines on Thursday after Page Six published a report claiming that the media mogul, 65, was one of the first people Meghan, 38, and Harry, 35, leaned on regarding advice on “breaking free.” The report also claims that Winfrey encouraged the couple to move to America and build their own brand.

The outlet also reports that a plethora of Meghan and Harry’s other A-list friends, including the Obamas and George and Amal Clooney have also given them advice.

A rep for the Clooneys did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

In their bombshell announcement, which they made on Wednesday, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said they are stepping away from their royal roles and making plans to split their time between the U.K. and North America.

Oprah Winfrey, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images; Chris Jackson/Getty Images

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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,” the Duke and Duchess of Sussex wrote on Instagram. “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.”

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
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The couple’s announcement came shortly after they returned to England after spending Thanksgiving and Christmas on Vancouver Island in Canada — but their 8-month-old son Archie wasn’t with them.

PEOPLE understands that Archie remained in Canada while the couple flew to London, where they made their first appearance of the new year at Canada House on Tuesday to thank the country for hosting them during their holiday getaway. Meghan and Harry plan to return to Canada and reunite with their son soon.

It is believed that Archie stayed with Meghan’s close pal Jessica Mulroney, whose three children served as page boys and a flower girl in the couple’s royal wedding. Meghan has reportedly since returned to Canada.

While in Canada, Meghan and Harry spent valuable time with Meghan’s mom Doria Ragland and close friends who came to visit them at their remote vacation home.

It was there that the couple posed for their family Christmas greetings and an adorable photo — taken by Meghan — of proud dad Harry and little Archie was captured.

During their visit to the Canada House in London, Meghan revealed that Archie was in awe of the natural beauty of Canada.

“Just to be able to take in the warmth that we experienced from the people but also just to walk around and just see the beauty of Canada,” she told staff. “To see Archie go ‘ahhh’ when you walk by and just see how stunning it is, so it meant a lot to us.”

The couple have history with the North American country, which is part of the Commonwealth, a group of nations with close ties to the Crown. Meghan called Toronto home for years while she filmed her hit USA legal drama Suits, and she was living there when she and Harry first began dating. The couple’s first public appearance together was in support of Harry’s Invictus Games in Toronto in 2017.

With reporting by Mary Green