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Helen Mirren says Meghan Markle 'was a fantastic addition to the royal family'

Helen Mirren (L) applauded Meghan Markle (R) for stepping back from the royal family. (Photos: Getty Images)

Actress Helen Mirren says Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were “absolutely right” to step down from the royal family, calling the duchess “fantastic.’

The 74-year-old English actress who won an Oscar for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth in the 2006 film The Queen, spoke to Variety this week, commenting on the couple’s choice to distance themselves from royal life and relocate to Canada with their 9-month-old son Archie.

“I think their instincts are absolutely right, and I applaud them for it,” Mirren told the outlet. “Hugely actually. Of course, it is complicated.”

That’s putting it mildly. After the decision, the Queen publicly acknowledged the couple’s struggles “as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years” and thanked them for their service. In October, the couple appeared in the ITV documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, during which the duchess admitted that she "very naively" wasn’t prepared for the pressures of royal life, despite warnings from friends that “the British tabloids will destroy your life."

Prince Harry also told ITV that negative attention "hurts,” especially when rumors are untrue.

Buckingham Palace has made clear that a consequence of Meghan and Harry’s new life is not using their HRH titles as of March 31, “as they are no longer working members of the Royal Family.”

Helen Mirren, pictured with Queen Elizabeth in 2011, says Meghan Markle made the right decision by stepping back from the royal family. (Photo: Dominic Lipinski - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

So, last week, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge withdrew trademark applications to utilize the phrase “Sussex Royal” along with “any other iteration of ‘Royal” for their new non-profit organization. But they explained on their website Sussex Royal, “While there is not any jurisdiction by The Monarchy or Cabinet Office over the use of the word ‘Royal’ overseas. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex do not intend to use ‘Sussex Royal’ or any iteration of the word ‘Royal’ in any territory (either within the UK or otherwise) when the transition occurs Spring 2020.”

The royals — particularly Markle — were accused of splintering the monarchy, however Mirren told Variety, “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…”

Mirren added, “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.”

The actress, whom the Queen appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2003, appeared at the Berlin Film Festival on Thursday where she received the Honorary Golden Bear award for lifetime achievement in film.

Related: Helen Mirren Reveals Royal Reaction To Her Queen Portrayal

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