Queen heartbreak: How painful Harry decision came after crunch Charles and William meeting


THE Queen put duty before love yesterday when she stripped Harry and Meghan of their royal patronages. The “saddened” monarch said the couple had stepped away from a life of public service after their decision to leave Britain to pursue lucrative interests in the US.

However, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex issued a strong rebuke by saying: “We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.” Over the last few months, it has become clear the Palace felt the couple’s growing business ventures were not compatible with being working royals. After meetings with Harry, Prince William and their father Prince Charles, the Queen made an announcement, saying the couple would “remain much-loved members of the family”.

But within moments of the news, Harry and Meghan issued their astonishing parting shot.

Royal sources admitted the Sussexes’ rebuke “clearly demonstrates the deep wounds of the past remain for at least one side”.

The Queen, 94, wrote to Harry to say it was not possible for him and Meghan to combine their new life making money in California with one of public service.

A senior royal source said: “It’s a family decision, not one taken by the men in grey suits.”

The move means roles such as Captain General of the Royal Marines that Harry took over in 2017 from Prince Philip will now be handed to another royal.

Sources said the decision had been announced ahead of the March 31 deadline to review the Sussexes’ first year of independence because all the main questions had been resolved.

Buckingham Palace also wanted to avoid further damaging speculation, it was said. The decision comes days after the couple announced they had agreed an interview with US chat show queen Oprah Winfrey.

The Queen made the decision with her family

The Queen made the decision with her family (Image: GETTY)

A snap express.co.uk poll yesterday revealed strong public b cking for the Queen’s move, with 96 per cent agreeing she was right to remove patronages from Harry and Meghan.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement: “While all are saddened by their decision, the Duke and Duchess remain much-loved members of the family.”

Harry, an Army veteran with two tours of duty in Afghanistan, had fought to keep his cherished honorary roles representing the military, particularly his position as Captain General of the Royal Marines.

The couple believed that it was possible for them to combine earning their own money with part-time work on official Royal engagements.

Their spokesman sounded a note of defiance, saying: “As evidenced by their work over the past year, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain committed to their duty and service to the UK and around the world, and have offered their continued support to the ­organisations they have represented regardless of official role.”

Harry and Meghan with baby Archie who is yet to visit England

Harry and Meghan with baby Archie who is yet to visit England (Image: GETTY)

Harry and Meghan with William and Kate at Westminster Abbey in 2018

Harry and Meghan with William and Kate at Westminster Abbey in 2018 (Image: GETTY)

He added: “We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.”

Angela Levin, one of Harry’s biographers, said she was not surprised the Queen had acted amid increasing concerns over the Sussexes.

Their decision to do £100million deals with Netflix and Spotify and appear on TV with Oprah Winfrey prompted claims they were cashing in on their royal names.

The biographer said: “She [the Queen] doesn’t want the Royal Family’s name to be tainted in that way and this, I think, crossed the red line.”

The Daily Express revealed on February 2 that Harry was in line to lose his military patronages.

Earlier this week it became clear the other roles that the Queen had given the couple were likely to go.

The so-called “Megxit deal” was up for review by March 31 this year in case Harry and Meghan had second thoughts and wanted to return.

“We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.”

Harry and Meghan

Palace officials made it clear the couple, who are expecting their second child, will still be welcome at family occasions, including Trooping the Colour.

The Sussexes now live in their new £11million home in Montecito, California.

A source insisted the interview with Oprah played no part in any of the official decisions.

In a statement, the palace said: “The Queen has written confirming that in stepping away from the work of the Royal Family it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service.

“The honorary military appointments and royal patronages held by the Duke and Duchess will therefore be returned to Her Majesty, before being redistributed among working members of the Royal Family.”

Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, will still retain the right to call themselves the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Harry remains sixth in line to the throne. All of the patronages stripped from the couple yesterday were for national or international organisations in which they were representing the monarch.

In a bizarre anomaly, Harry is currently one of four counsellors of state to the Queen, along with Charles, William and Prince Andrew, who has stepped away from official duties.

Two of the group are needed to stand in for the Queen to sign ­official papers and legislation if she is abroad or incapacitated by illness.

Meghan Markle and Harry ‘crossed’ line with Queen says LevinThe Royals together on the Buckingham Palace balcony

The Royals together on the Buckingham Palace balcony (Image: GETTY)

ANALYSIS by Phil Dampier, royal author

The announcement that Harry and Meghan will not be returning as working members of the Royal Family was inevitable.

All doubts about a half-in relationship vanished with their Netflix and Spotify deals, followed by news of the interview with chat show queen Oprah Winfrey.

If their statement is anything to go by, Harry and Meghan will use the “Fright of the Oprah” as another opportunity to justify “Megxit”.

And deep down I think Harry wants to justify his actions to himself because he probably feels some pangs of guilt.

Just remember what the couple said in their engagement interview in November 2017.

Meghan said “his family has been so welcoming” and “The Queen’s an

incredible woman.”

The whole nation welcomed Meghan. But soon the couple seized on a few racist remarks, mainly on social media, and blamed the mainstream press for hounding them out.

I now wonder whether Meghan’s heart was ever in being a working royal.

She split with her first husband after landing a role in Suits in Canada. She has fallen out with her father and half-siblings.

By saying it was not possible for the couple to carry on with duties that come with a life of public service, the Queen was subtly pointing out her own selfless decades at the coal face.

Sadly, Harry and Meghan couldn’t resist a dig back, and by saying “We can all live a life of service – service is universal” they were belittling the work of the Royal Family.

There’s no doubt they are suffering from delusions of grandeur and, although they may be popular among woke young in California, their ratings have plummeted globally.

At 94 the Queen needed the younger royals to support her, not walk out to do deals.

Prince Charles met with the Queen before the decision

Prince Charles met with the Queen before the decision (Image: GETTY)

Prince Harry – what he lost

FORMER soldier Harry is no longer the Captain General of the Royal Marines.

He is also not Honorary Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Naval Commands’ Small Ships and Diving or Honorary Air Force Commandant of the Royal Air Force Base Honington.

Harry, who served on the front line in Afghanistan, has also had to relinquish his role as president of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust.

The Duke will no longer be patron of the Rugby Football Union and the Rugby Football League – or patron of the London Marathon Charitable Trust.

The role was on a three-year

term, which was renewed twice, covering nine years. It came to an end in January, and it was decided it would not be renewed.

He so far retains these private patronages or presidencies: African Parks, Dolen Cymru, the Henry van Straubenzee Memorial Fund,

Invictus Games, MapAction, Rhino Conservation Botswana, Sentebale, and WellChild.

It is not yet known whether Harry will retain his patronages of the Rugby Football Union All Schools Programme and the Rugby Football Union Injured Players Foundation.

Royal Family tree

Royal Family tree (Image: EXPRESS)

Meghan Markle – what she lost

Meghan was handed two royal patronages by the Queen in 2019.

But the duchess loses that of The Royal National Theatre along with the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

Meghan will also have to give up her role as vice-president of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust.

But she keeps her two private patronages – Smart Works and animal charity Mayhew.


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