The official story from Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Kensington Palace was that they had NO IDEA that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were about to make this sudden announcement about stepping away from their positions as “senior royals.” People Magazine has a piece about how the Sussex announcement “came as a surprise to Queen Elizabeth” and that “Prince Charles and Prince William were caught off guard by the release of the couple’s statement on Wednesday.” A source told People: “There is a lot of hurt about this,” and that all of this was “so avoidable.” I agree, much of this was avoidable if only Charles, William and the Queen had supported Meghan and Harry. What seems to be false about People Mag’s timeline – and everyone else’s timeline – is that the Sussexes dropped this news without any warning whatsoever. Allow the Evening Standard to break it down:
Prince Harry defied clear instructions from the Queen not to announce that he and Meghan are to quit as “senior” royals, the Evening Standard has been told. The Queen made it clear to her grandson that he should not proceed with any announcement this week about his future after he requested a meeting with her at Sandringham, according to senior sources.
The Duke of Sussex’s apparent refusal to comply with an explicit request from the head of the royal family will help to explain the unprecedented expressions of “hurt” and “disappointment” from the palace over last night’s statement. The Standard has also been told that Prince William tried to build bridges with his brother in the autumn shortly after the airing of an ITV documentary about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in October. It is understood that William wanted to visit Harry at his Windsor home, Frogmore Cottage, but the meeting never happened.
It is understood that:
Harry originally contacted Prince Charles about spending more time in Canada and America just before Christmas, but was told he needed to come up with a thought-out plan. Harry sent a draft proposal about his future role to his father early in the New Year but was again informed that more time was needed to think through the complex implications, particularly over funding.
Harry asked for a summit with the Queen at Sandringham as soon as he, Meghan and their son Archie, arrived back from their long Christmas break in Canada at the weekend. He was told that while the Queen was happy to meet him, she would not discuss his wishlist before he had discussed it in detail with his father. The planned meeting was blocked by courtiers, but the Queen made it clear to Harry that he should not go public about his future plans at this time.
Prince Charles and Prince William, the next two in the line of succession, were only sent a copy of Harry and Meghan’s statement “10 minutes” before it was released and without any further consultation.
Senior courtiers have warned that “Harry and Meghan will be punished for this”.
Oh ho ho. Well that’s something, isn’t it? I knew that the whole “the Queen didn’t know a thing!” story was f–king bullsh-t. Harry and Meghan were trying to do this the “right way,” the proper way, with plans and meetings and negotiations, but they were pushed aside and slow-walked and ignored. And then someone – probably in BP – decided to leak the information and that’s when the Sussexes pulled the trigger.
Also: “Senior members of the royal family have gathered at Kensington Palace to celebrate the Duchess of Cambridge’s 38th birthday amid an ongoing crisis after Prince Harry and Meghan’s bombshell announcement last night,” per the Daily Mail. I think Will & Kate were called back to London because of all of this – they likely planned to spend this entire week lounging around Anmer Hall. Now the DM says that “there are expected to be crisis talks today among the most senior family members, who are said to be ‘incandescent with rage’ after learning about the announcement minutes before it broke on TV channels last night.” That just reminds me that Prince Andrew also did crisis talks in Buckingham Palace after Jeffrey Epstein’s mysterious death. Hahaha.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid, WENN.