With all of the discussion of the “royal rota” and how the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are opting out of it, it’s worth noting that the Cambridges and the Sussexes have their “outside the rota” favorites. The Sussexes have been leaking their side to Omid Scobie of Harper’s Bazaar for a while, and Katie Nicholl at Vanity Fair gets all kinds of Camp Cambridge exclusives. Interestingly, both Scobie and Nicholl published exclusives on Thursday, both articles dealing with what’s happening behind the scenes. Scobie says some stuff which we already knew, like how Harry and Meghan had been consulting with various palaces and royals for months about this move, despite the claims to the contrary. Some of this is new info though, some highlights:
The plans to move away had been in the pipeline for a while: Senior aides reveal that conversations about the couple’s future plans and ambitions had taken place internally “on all levels” for several months in the run-up to their so-called “bombshell” on January 8. It was information that the couple had planned to hold back from the media until logistics had been further fleshed out among households, but after their agenda was leaked to British tabloid The Sun, “they felt they had been cornered,” says a source close to the couple. “It was a case of act now or lose control of something they had spent a long time working on.”
No one was enraged: Surprised, yes, but the royal reaction, says a high-ranking palace aide, was “far from the dramatic emotional response described by some—nobody was ‘incandescent with rage’ and nobody is about to punish anyone. The speed at which this now needs to be dealt with is not ideal, but the plans themselves are not a problem. This is not a ‘crisis,’ it’s a case of helping the couple reach their goal.”
Their hatred of The Rota: “They saw the current model as outdated and in desperate need of change,” says a source, who notes that previous attempts to change the current system had been repeatedly met with dead ends. “It became clear that press, including foreign media and digital outlets, to have access to their work, they would have to self-fund their own engagements.”
The SussexRoyal.com site: Put together away from the palace, the site was written by an individual known to the couple and designed by Made by Article, the same Toronto-based company that successfully produced Meghan’s now-shuttered lifestyle blog The Tig. “Very few people were involved in the process, but those who were managed to keep information of the site confidential,” says the Sussex source. The online hub has already received millions of visits since its launch and the couple have also been inundated with supportive messages from charities and organizations they have worked as well as close friends around the world.
The part about what led to them suddenly announcing the withdrawal is interesting, because that story came petering out on Thursday. Dan Wooten at the Sun had the exclusive. It’s very likely the leak came from Kensington Palace. So did Katie Nicholl’s Vanity Fair piece. Some highlights:
The Queen personally ordered for royal parties to come together to solve the Sussex riddle: In a sign of the Queen’s frustration and growing anger at the situation, the order was said to have come directly from the monarch, who remains in Sandringham on an extended new year break. The decision is expected to “take days not weeks,” said the royal aide. The senior royals have been in contact with one another throughout the day Thursday as their households have worked together to come up with a crisis strategy to prevent any further damage to the reputation of the monarchy. Despite the scale of the story, which has made headlines around the world, royal aides have said the Queen has no immediate plans to return to London and is leaving it to her trusted aides and courtiers to work together with the Sussexes’ household.
The Sussexes might not be HRHs: It is understood that the matter of the Sussexes’ HRH titles is “up in the air” as courtiers deal with the fallout…with royal sources telling Vanity Fair that “nothing has been ruled in or out.”
The Queen is devastated: Sources close to the Queen have said that she is privately devastated by Prince Harry and Meghan’s decision to stand down…Sources close to the Queen say there is a feeling of deep hurt and resentment about how the Sussexes have handled the situation. “The Queen will expect Harry to go and see her and explain himself,” a source told Vanity Fair. “This is not how things are done in the royal family and now it is down to the Queen and her advisors to sort things out.” As yet Vanity Fair understands Prince Harry has yet to see his grandmother.
Building the Sussex brand: Last night a source close to Prince Harry said that a major reason for the couple standing down from the Royal Family is so that they can build their own Sussex brand. The couple will launch their own charitable foundation later this year and “Sussex Royal” could potentially earn them millions. “Building their brand is the most important thing to them right now,” a source told Vanity Fair. “I think it might be more important than their royal titles because they are already so huge, so successful and so popular particularly in the US which is where they see their brand really taking off. Meghan is seriously bright and business savvy and together they have come up with a plan to become the royal version of the Beckhams.”
I find it fascinating that the Queen “expects” Harry to come to her personally and explain this, especially when… he apparently tried to do just that months ago. She was the one cuddling up to her rapist son and Budget-Flight stunt queen William. I had a real come-to-Jesus moment about the Queen last year and how she’s actually a big a–hole. I’ll go one step further: for decades now, her poor management style, her tone-deaf public relations instincts and her inability to surround herself with competent, forward-thinking people has all led to this. In the twilight of her reign, all hell is breaking loose and it just feels like chickens coming home to roost.
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