The Queen has convened a meeting of all four royal households to try and find a ‘workable’ future role for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, within ‘days not weeks’.
Her Majesty, in Sandringham, Prince Charles, in Scotland, and Prince William have been locked in a four-way conference call with Prince Harry, in Windsor, to try and resolve his and Meghan’s exit from the royal family.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex revealed yesterday that they want to quit public life, though it later emerged the announcement came against the Queen’s strict orders.
The Queen wants the situation resolved as quickly as possible, according to a Buckingham Palace source this evening, and talks will take place ‘at pace’ and involve the government, including Home Secretary Priti Patel.
Discussions may even include foreign governments, possibly Canada and the United States, with Harry and Meghan intending to split their time between the UK and North America in the future.
Despite presenting their exit as a done deal, the Palace warned the couple last night that their plans were ‘at an early stage’ and much discussion was still required between the royals, suggesting that Harry and Meghan had jumped the gun and ignored the rest of the family’s wishes.
Prince Charles and Prince William only found about the bombshell decision 10 minutes before it went public.
It has threatened to trigger an all-out royal war, with Charles and William reportedly incandescent with rage at Harry and Meghan and the Queen thought to be ‘deeply disappointed’.
The Duchess of Cambridge’s 38th birthday was also completely eclipsed today after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced their ‘nuclear’ plans last night.
Courtiers have warned that ‘Harry and Meghan will be punished’ for ignoring crystal-clear orders from Her Majesty not to go public until the proposal was finalised by senior family members including his father.
Prince Charles and Prince William learned about the Sussexes’ announcement just 10 minutes before it was published on the couple’s own Instagram page – followed by the roll-out of a slick new website secretly set up 10 months ago.
The fallout saw crisis talks held today between senior royals at Kensington Palace, where members of the family had already gathered to celebrate the Duchess of Cambridge’s 38th birthday, with their decision branded a ‘declaration of war’ on Harry’s family.
Aides speaking to the Evening Standard have now warned of a backlash against Harry, who it was revealed today had first contacted his father before Christmas to discuss his hopes of spending more time in North America.
Prince Harry even sent a draft proposal of his plans to his father in the New Year, but he was told more time was needed to talk through the complex implications, notably around finances.
Harry later requested a meeting with the Queen at Sandringham upon his arrival back in the UK this weekend with Meghan and their son Archie, which followed a six-week Christmas break to Canada.
The Queen offered to meet the Duke – which was blocked by courtiers – but she still made an explicit request to her grandson that he first discuss his future plans in detail with his father, the Prince of Wales.
But the couple defied the order, going ahead with the announcement and ‘pressing the nuclear button’ on their royal careers, with William and Charles allegedly receiving a copy of the statement just 10 minutes beforehand.
A senior royal source said the Queen and her family were ‘deeply disappointed’ by the news, while another said the royals were ‘shocked, saddened and downright furious’ at the couple.
A senior source told The Sun: ‘Their statement was not cleared with anyone. It breaks all protocol. This is a declaration of war on the family.
‘There is fury over how they’ve done this without any thought for the implications for the institution. The Queen is deeply upset. The Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge are incandescent with rage.
‘Courtiers can’t believe it. There are so many unanswered questions but they’ve just up and done it without a thought for anyone else. The plan was there to discuss it and work out a way that works for everyone in the family.’
News of Prince Harry’s defiance to his grandmother was reported in the Evening Standard, which said his lack of compliance will have added to unprecedented expressions of uncertainty coming out of the palace last night.
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SOURCE: Daily Mail, Alexander Robertson and Danyal Hussain