Prince Harry and Meghan Markle defied the Queen
The Queen asked Prince Harry not to issue the statement on Wednesday announcing that he and his wife, the Duchess of Sussex, would be pulling back from royal duties, but he went ahead with it anyway, CNN understands.
Harry and Meghan announced their intention to step back from their roles as senior members of the British royal family and work towards becoming “financially independent.”
There was said to be a mood of deep disappointment in the palace following the announcement; senior members of the family are hurt as a result of the news.
In a statement issued just hours after the couple put out an Instagram post, Buckingham Palace said the situation was “complicated.”
“Discussions with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage,” the unsigned Royal Communications statement said.
A royal source told CNN Thursday that officials acting for the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William held talks about what to do about the announcement.
CNN has tried to contact the office of the Sussexes on several occasions. The Evening Standard was the first to report Thursday’s news.
The officials will work together “at pace” with the UK government and the Sussex household to find “workable solutions” within days, the source said.
But while the only official statement from the palace said the issue “will take time to work through,” the Sussexes made it clear in their statement that they know what they want.
“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,” they said.
In their social media post, the couple revealed they plan to split their time between the UK and North America.
While surprising to the rest of the royal family, the couple’s move seems to have been thought through.
Alongside the statement, they also released a new, updated version of their website. The new site includes more details about their vision for their future.
It suggests that while Harry and Meghan intend to become “financial independent”, they are still planning to rely on publicly-funded security and make use of their official residence, the recently renovated Frogmore Cottage in Windsor.
The royal source told CNN that a plan is being worked on that would redefine the couple’s role while satisfying the palace and to see if there is a way to accommodate the couple’s desire to pursue private income.
The duke and duchess have had a difficult relationship with British media. In October last year, the couple announced that Meghan was suing the Mail on Sunday newspaper, alleging it had illegally published a private letter to her father — a claim the newspaper denies.
At the same time, Harry launched an emotional attack on the UK tabloid press for what he called a “ruthless campaign” against his wife. Some parts of the media have been accused of racism towards Meghan.