Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle announced on Wednesday that they will take “a step back” as senior members of the royal family and instead work independently, splitting their time between the United Kingdom and North America.
Neil Sean, a royal author and broadcaster, told Fox News on Thursday that palace aides may not have been prepared for the unexpected announcement.
“The palace aides are working in conjunction with the queen,” he explained. “It’s not lost on anyone that they decided to launch this without the permission of the queen.”
The announcement came in the evening, U.K. time. A source close to the palace told Fox News that palace aides held an emergency meeting before Buckingham Palace officially responded to the couple’s announcement on social media.
“Discussions with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage,” one palace spokesman told Fox News late Wednesday. “We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.”
The spokesman added that “nothing is being ruled or ruled out.”
A source close to the palace also told Fox News: “Some members of the royal family were not consulted before the Duke and Duchess’ statement was issued.”
According to Sean, the work being conducted by palace aides is far from over.
“There is a big meeting planned this afternoon with Prince Charles and the queen to discuss the next steps,” he claimed. “Charles’ private equerry (the royal private secretary) has delivered a note to the duke to demand a meeting… oddly though alone.”
Sean also alleged that a source close to the palace also informed him that Queen Elizabeth “is not best pleased with this news” and “the planning and progression of this will and could take considerably longer than first planned.”
But royal author Leslie Carroll pointed out that the couple’s decision to balance their time between the United Kingdom and North America shouldn’t really surprise anyone.
“Why not carve out their own path now that they have started a foundation in their own names and can focus on their mutual philanthropic passions around the world?” she told Fox News. “And particularly where they are considerably more popular and beloved than a home in England where no matter what Meghan does, the Fleet Street press, which can’t seem to overcome its racist… bias against her, will never cut her any slack and continue to tear her down with little respect for her title and position, and where Harry is more comfortable anyway?”
“Harry is on record as saying that while he knows the role he was born into and the duty to his family and the monarchy, he has also never liked living in England,” she continued. “He has always been happier where and when he can feel useful to someone and something, such as the army and his philanthropic endeavors in Africa.”
But Sean warned that this declaration will result in Markle losing the approval of the British public.
“This will backfire big time on Meghan as she will be seen as the woman who has taken away a much-loved member of the British royal family,” he shared.
Markle, 38, and Harry 35, said the announcement came “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 shared on Instagram Wednesday. “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 honor our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages," they continued. "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."
The couple added they will continue to work with the reigning monarch, 93, as well as Harry’s father Prince Charles, as well as the 35-year-old’s older brother, Prince William.
"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."
They will keep their royal titles.