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Queen was kept in the dark about Harry and Meghan's decision to announce a 'step back' from royal duties

It comes amid speculation of a fall out between Prince Harry and brother Will.

Image: PA Wire/PA Images

Updated Jan 8th 2020, 10:48 PM

PRINCE HARRY AND Meghan Markle have announced they are stepping back as senior members of the royal family but neither The Queen nor the Prince of Wales were told about it, it has emerged. 

It is understood Harry and Meghan had just begun talks with the Queen and Charles about their future roles when they made their decision to go public.

The head of state and her son were only recently informed of the Sussexes intention to explore their public positions as members of the monarchy, and were not aware a statement was going to be issued this evening.

The pair are planning to split their time between the UK and North America once they remove themselves from the frontline royal duties. 

“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,” the couple said in a post on Instagram this evening. 

“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. 

“It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour out duty the The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages.”

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“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. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages. This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity. We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.” - The Duke and Duchess of Sussex For more information, please visit sussexroyal.com (link in bio) Image © PA

A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal) on

The pair said that the decision was taken in the interest of their child.

“This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity,” they wrote. 

“We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties.

“Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.”

In a statement this evening, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: “Discussions with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage.

“We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.”

It is understood that the Queen and the Prince of Wales were not aware of the content of Harry and Meghan’s bombshell personal statement before it was issued.

The mood at Buckingham Palace is understood to be one of disappointment while the BBC has reported that senior royals have been “hurt” by the announcement.

The sequence of events is likely to lead commentators to speculate whether a rift has developed at the heart of the monarchy.

The move comes after speculation that Prince Harry and brother Will had distanced themselves from each other following reports of a feud. 

On Tuesday, the royal couple returned to normal duties after a family break in Canada.

With reporting from PA 

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