The Duke and Duchess of Sussex reportedly ignored instructions from the Queen not to go public with their bombshell announcement to step back from their roles as senior royals.
The Queen and other members of the family were said to be left “hurt” by Harry and Meghan’s decision to issue a personal statement, which outlined their future lives as financially independent royals who will divide their time between the UK and North America.
But it appears the head of state tried to forestall any announcements after her grandson asked to meet at her private Sandringham estate, the Evening Standard newspaper reported.
Harry and Meghan went ahead and released their personal statement on Wednesday evening which was a “bolt from the blue” for Buckingham Palace, sources told the PA news agency.
The statement – and a new official Sussexroyal.com website – have thrown up important questions about funding for the couple’s round-the-clock security, media access to their royal events and how they will pay for their future lifestyles.
The duke and duchess, who have only recently returned from a six-week stay in Canada with eight-month-old son Archie, said in their statement: “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.”
Meghan received a public boost from her close friend Jessica Mulroney, a Canadian stylist and TV star, who posted a quote attributed to Gina Carey, which said: “A strong woman looks a challenge in the eye and gives it a wink.”
But a series of commentators have strongly criticised their decision with public relations and crisis consultant Mark Borkowski saying about the Sussexes “It does feel like a royal couple in exile”.
A sequence of events around the announcement were outlined by the newspaper.
It is already known the Queen, Prince of Wales and other senior royals were not consulted about the content of the couple’s statement or knew it was to be issued.
But the Standard said Charles and the Duke of Cambridge only received it 10 minutes before it was released.
Over the festive period the newspaper stated Charles told his son to come up with a thought out plan for his wish to spend more time in Canada and America, and when he put forward a draft proposal was told time was needed to consider its implications, particularly funding.
The Queen agreed to Harry’s request to meet when he returned from Canada but the duke was told his grandmother would not discuss his proposals before he had talked them through with his father.
Despite the request not to make any announcements the Sussexes published their statement.