‘Deeply Hurt’ Queen gathers Royals for Megxit crisis summit: Prince Harry will be warned’abdication’ could take MONTHS in crunch talks – as couple’s hopes to ‘settle in LA after Donald Trump’s Presidency ends’ are revealed
- The Royals are preparing for unprecedented summit at Sandringham Monday to thrash out Sussex solution
- Courtiers have been furiously working to devise a range of options for Harry and Meghan’s stripped-back role
- The Queen was left deeply hurt by her grandson’s decision to release the statement without her knowledge
- Stumbling blocks include issues of residency, visas, tax and security that may take some time to iron out
Prince Harry will today be warned there are formidable obstacles to overcome before he can stand down as a senior royal.
As members of the family gather at Sandringham for a historic royal summit, their task is to come up with a ‘direction of travel’ for the prince and Meghan.
Aides have been working around the clock to come up with a range of options for the couple since they issued their bombshell statement saying they planned to step back from frontline duties and divide their time between the UK and North America, while retaining their royal privileges.
The Queen – who was left deeply hurt by her grandson’s decision to release the statement without her knowledge – made clear to courtiers she wanted the problem sorted ‘within days’ to prevent further damage to the monarchy.
But while staff have managed to achieve the unthinkable in preparing a series of proposals to put on the table, Harry will also be warned that the crisis is not over yet.
There have already been consultations between the UK and Canadian governments, but working out the detail is likely to take weeks or months rather than days.
Behind the scenes, consultations have highlighted a range of stumbling blocks, such as issues of residency, visas, tax and security that may take some time to iron out, depending on what path the couple want to go down.
The Queen (pictured attending church at Sandringham on Sunday), who was left deeply hurt by her grandson’s decision to release the statement without her knowledge, has summoned Princes Charles, William and Harry for a crisis meeting to resolve the Sussexes future
Prince Harry will today be warned there are formidable obstacles to overcome before he can stand down as a senior royal (Prince pictured with Meghan Markle at Canada House in London on Tuesday)
Scene of the showdown: Members of the family will gather at the Queen’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk for a historic royal summit, where their task is to come up with a ‘direction of travel’ for the prince and Meghan
Royal aides have prepared Sandringham’s grand Long Library, which used to be a bowling alley, for the crunch talks between senior members of the Family on Monday
The Queen leaves church at the Sandringham Estate on Sunday wearing a camel coat and hat ahead of the crisis summit on Monday
As the Queen, the Prince of Wales, Prince William and Prince Harry meet for the first time since early November at the Queen’s Norfolk estate, it emerged that:
- Harry decided to pull the plug on his royal role ‘without a thought’ for William and his family, according to insiders;
- Although the Sussexes will be settling in Canada, their ultimate goal is to have a home and business in LA – but only after Donald Trump is no longer President, sources have said;
- Harry’s close friend, broadcaster Tom Bradby, warned that the couple could do an explosive ‘tell all’ interview if they didn’t get their way and it wouldn’t ‘be pretty’;
- Charles arrived in Sandringham last night after a visit to Oman to offer the UK’s condolences on the death of the country’s emir;
- Asked how the Queen was bearing up, her grandson, Peter Phillips, said only that she was doing ‘all right’.
Today’s unprecedented summit will see the four most senior members of the Royal Family and their closest aides sit down together – with Meghan ‘likely’ to be ‘dialling in’ by phone from Canada, where she fled back to on Thursday.
She and Harry had left their son, Archie, eight months, at their rented home on Vancouver Island when they returned to Britain.
Harry is set to follow her later this week with no clue of when he will be returning. Following a series of meetings and consultations, the family will be given a range of possibilities to review which take into account the demands outlined by the Sussexes last week.
Bradby, who is believed by the royal household to be acting as Harry and Meghan’s ‘mouthpiece’, told ITV last night that the Royal Family had to achieve a ‘sensible’ agreement and give ‘them the freedom they want, the role that they want in the Royal Family, [and] make sure British taxpayers don’t feel cheated.’
Dressed in a camel-coloured coat and hat, the 93-year-old monarch was seen riding in the back of a chauffeur-driven vehicle, heading for morning service at the 16th century St Mary Magdalene Church, in Sandringham, Norfolk
Prince Charles has jetted back from Oman where he offered his condolences to the country’s Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said (right) over the death of previous Sultan Qaboos bin Said who died age 79 on Friday
But aides have warned that making such a seismic change to their working life and role in the monarchy will take ‘complex and thoughtful discussions’.
A royal source said: ‘It is anticipated that at the end of the meeting a series of steps will be agreed, in line with Her Majesty’s wish for this to be resolved within days not weeks.
‘That’s certainly the aim. But there will need to be an understanding that any decision will take time to be implemented and is complicated by issues including the HMRC, security and the like.’
Charles arrived in Norfolk after a 24-hour visit to Oman – a key British ally.
‘The prince is already the hardest working royal in the business. And the business of the Royal Family is having to go on while all this is happening,’ said a source.
‘He has a strong sense of duty and service. He is going into the meeting not just as a ‘chief executive’ but as a concerned father as well.’
Buckingham Palace has not put a time frame on today’s discussions but is adamant that ‘next steps’ will be decided by the end of the day.
Queen Elizabeth II arrives to attend a morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk
The 93-year-old Queen was pictured with a brown and red device lodged in her right ear as she was whisked to a church service on her Sandringham estate today
There have even been jokes that a stream of papal-style ‘white smoke’ may be seen coming from the Sandringham House chimney. ‘It could take five minutes, it could take five hours,’ one insider said. ‘What we can be sure of is that there will be a ‘direction of travel’ by the end of the day.
What palace aides have done to get to the point of having this range of options to discuss is delivering on the Queen’s request.
‘The family can say, ‘look we haven’t dragged our feet, we’ve come up with something for you to decide’. But it’s then up to them [the Sussexes].’
Friends have also told the Mail that although the pair plan to settle in Canada at first – although probably not on Vancouver Island – their ultimate aim is to have a home and business residence in the US, Meghan’s home country.
But staunch Democrat Meghan, who has openly been critical of Mr Trump, has said she won’t move back while he is in charge. ‘It’s by no means an immediate thing but there is a long-term plan to end up back in the US with a second home in Canada, where they will also spend a great deal of time,’ the source said.
Titles, taxes and Frogmore Cottage: The issues that will be on the agenda when the Royal family meets for Sandringham summit to discuss Harry and Meghan’s future
By Rebecca English for the Daily Mail
The Royal Family will today gather at Sandringham to thrash out a way forward for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Here are the key issues facing them.
THE HRH QUESTION
Harry and Meghan wish to continue to undertake duties on behalf of the Queen and for that they will need titles.
They could voluntarily relinquish their HRHs and retain their courtesy titles, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, given by the Queen. However the couple’s new brand – Sussex Royal – is built around the kudos of being a royal highness.
Losing this would it signal this is an abdication in all but name and it would mean the couple being lower down the pecking order than Prince Andrew’s daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.
But members of the Royal Family do not see any benefit in them losing their titles either. They are acutely aware of the disastrous consequences when Harry’s mother, the late Diana, Princess of Wales, lost her HRH status as the public believed she had been vengefully stripped of her status.
THE SUSSEX MARTYRS?
‘The Duke and Duchess of Sussex deeply believe in the role of The Monarchy, and their commitment to Her Majesty The Queen is unwavering,’ the couple say on their new website.
If their hope of being able to continue to support the Queen is not accepted by the rest of the family, it will give the Sussexes the martyrdom they crave and make the monarchy look old-fashioned.
But the family’s biggest fear is that a ‘one foot in, one foot out’ approach to being a member of the Royal Family is unworkable.
One option is that Harry and Meghan keep their personal patronages but also attend big set-piece family events such as Trooping The Colour.
All other royal duties would be dramatically scaled back although a moot point is the Commonwealth as the Queen made them president and vice-president of her Commonwealth Trust. Can this be reconciled now?
The family’s biggest fear is that a ‘one foot in, one foot out’ approach to being a member of the Royal Family is unworkable. Pictured: The Queen leaves St Mary Magdalene in Sandringham
THIS COULD BE COSTLY
Harry will be handed documents compiled after discussions with tax authorities in the UK and Canada. They include the warning he could face a ‘double tax’ on commerical income and bills running into the millions from multiple authorities.
Canada requires residents and some property owners to pay income tax on global earnings. Similar rules apply in the UK.
This means Harry may have to give up his UK residency or limit his time in Canada if he does not want to pay taxes in both places.
WILL CHARLES PAY?
Harry and Meghan have made great virtue of relinquishing their funding via the Sovereign Grant, basically taxpayers’ money.
They claim this is just five per cent of their funding and has been spent specifically on official office expenses. But they also get public money for travel for official engagements here and abroad. If they are travelling further afield, this could run into hundreds of thousands of pounds each year.
Their website states for the first time that 95 per cent of their annual funding comes from the Duchy of Cornwall, the Prince of Wales’s private estate. The bill is estimated to be around £2.3million but will Charles want to continue to foot this?
THE FERGIE FACTOR
The couple claim there is ‘precedent’ for holding a title and earning an income. But this is currently only Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.
None received any official funding and are only asked to accompany the Queen on a handful of engagements each year.
Harry and Meghan are high-profile figures who currently undertake 200-plus engagements a year between them.
Other royals who have tried this route include the Duchess of York, who has made a string of disastrous business deals.
What does the couple’s stated aim to ‘work to become financially independent’ mean?
Will they take deals to promote products or bring out autobiographies or start producing their own films and documentaries?
‘It sends shudders down the spine and raises fundamental questions about the monitarisation of the monarchy,’ said one source. He added the Queen has been clear that ‘members of the Royal Family do not benefit as a result of their position. The new so-called progressive model seems to fly in the face of that’.
Will the couple take deals to promote products or bring out autobiographies or start producing their own films and documentaries?
Harry and Meghan wish to keep Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor Estate, which was refurbished with £2.4million from taxpayers.
The Queen still owns the property but gave it to the Sussexes to live in for as long as they wanted. It is relatively modest by royal standards and the couple have always had their eye on a country bolt-hole too.
Surveys have made clear the public will not stomach them still owning Frogmore while spending most of their time abroad.
As royals, the couple are entitled to 24/7 taxpayer-funded protection at home and abroad, and whether on official duties or on holiday. They have made it clear they believe this should continue.
The couple’s security bill is close to £1million a year. The Met Police has indicated it cannot write an open-ended cheque if they live abroad. The police will not turn their backs on Harry and Meghan but a compromise is needed.
Harry pulled plug on royal role ‘without any thought for William’ and has left his brother ‘sad and worried’
By Rebecca English for the Daily Mail
Prince Harry decided to pull the plug on his royal role ‘without a thought’ for William and his family, according to insiders.
They say Harry, 35, is so caught up in his own misery he hasn’t considered the fall-out for the brother he was once inseparable from – and his little niece and nephews.
It was reported yesterday that the Duke of Cambridge had spoken of his sadness at the broken bond with Harry. ‘I’ve put my arm around my brother all our lives and I can’t do that any more; we’re separate entities,’ he told a friend according to the Sunday Times.
Prince Harry decided to pull the plug on his royal role ‘without a thought’ for William and his family, according to insiders. Pictured arriving together for the Grenfell Tower National Memorial Service at St Paul’s Cathedral in 2017
‘I’m sad about that. All we can do, and all I can do, is try and support them and hope the time comes when we’re all singing from the same page. I want everyone to play on the same team.’
When it was put to Harry last week that he needed to discuss his plans with William at least before ‘pressing the nuclear button’, he made clear he hadn’t any intention of doing so.
Neither had it occurred to him that there would also be ramifications for the young Cambridge children, George, six, Charlotte, four, and Louis, just one.
The siblings have only seen their cousin Archie, eight months, once or twice since he was born.
‘He is so caught up with his own problems and just hadn’t thought through how it would affect everyone else,’ said a source with intimate knowledge of the week’s events.
Friends say the rift between the two is so deep now that it is unlikely to be repaired for the foreseeable future.
While sources close to William say he ‘does not recognise’ the quote in the Sunday Times, it is widely acknowledged it is ‘fairly close’ to what he is thinking.
Prince William accompanies his brother on his wedding day in May 2018 (left). It was reported yesterday that the Duke of Cambridge had spoken of his sadness at the broken bond with Harry (right)
‘Sadness, I’d say is the overwhelming emotion,’ said one source. ‘This is his brother, for God’s sake. He loves him. And he is desperately sad – and worried – that it has come to this. There’s an acknowledgement that things are very estranged at the moment. But maybe time and a little distance will heal that.’
While understandably concerned for his brother, William is also said to be worried about the increased workload the ‘abdication’ will bring for other family members.
Although now seventh in line to the throne, Harry and Meghan would still have undertaken more than 200 public engagements each year.
And even in the slimmed-down monarchy their father is hoping for, the Sussexes would have had a significant role.
Privately, William and Harry have always felt the public perception of them as Diana’s ‘boys’ wedded together for the rest of their lives by tragedy was an anachronism.
They have always had each other’s back, but have always had different ways of handling things – and different paths.
Privately, William and Harry have always felt the public perception of them as Diana’s ‘boys’ wedded together for the rest of their lives by tragedy was an anachronism. Pictured together at Thorpe Park in 1993
One source said the rot began after Harry left the military in 2015 and began to feel frustrated at his rather rootless existence compared to William’s clearly defined career path.
It was Kate who brought the brothers together, particularly as they collaborated on their mental health campaign, Heads Together.
But others say it was just a plaster on a long-festering wound that was ripped off when Meghan came on the scene and Harry had his own family to defend.
The Mail understands while William feels both he and his brother have been deeply affected by Diana’s death, Harry seems unable to move on with his life.
The secrets of Sandringham: The shooting party’s been sent home early and The Long Library is prepared. Lunch is on offer — but the showdown must end in time for Her Majesty’s tea. And will Philip be involved, asks RICHARD KAY
By Richard Kay for the Daily Mail
Of all the royal homes, Sandringham House is the least stuffy: less formal than Buckingham Palace, not so steeped in history as Windsor Castle and less baronial than Balmoral.
Certainly it offers an intimacy for today’s critical meeting on Prince Harry’s and Meghan’s future as functioning members of the Royal Family.
Staff have been asked to prepare the Long Library, which used to house a bowling alley. And it will certainly be familiar to both Harry and Prince William. As children when the nursery was full at Christmas time, it was where they used to come for high tea with Princess Diana and their royal cousins.
It is next to the billiard room and is sufficiently away from other rooms to guarantee privacy. The windows look on to the gardens and the soothing outlook might be just what the Queen needs as she sits down with her grandsons, Prince Charles and their aides amid one of the deepest crises of her reign.
Not since the dark days over Diana has there been such a sense of dread and unhappiness shrouding the Royal Family.
Of all the royal homes, Sandringham House is the least stuffy, and certainly it offers an intimacy for today’s critical meeting on Prince Harry’s and Meghan’s future as functioning members of the Royal Family.
In 1992 it was the anguish over the Princess of Wales’s marriage and the convulsions over her collaborating with the writer Andrew Morton. Then the family and their advisers agonised over what course of action to take when, despite endless meetings and frantic discussions, no solution could be found other than a cooling-off period for the couple which failed to work.
Five years later and the royals’ inadequate response to Diana’s death in Paris triggered another crisis.
For almost a week in that late summer of 1997 at Balmoral Castle there were family schisms, rows and stubborn silences. If not quite the 11th hour, it was perilously close by the time it was agreed that the Queen would broadcast to the nation and that a flag would fly at half-mast over Buckingham Palace.
And it is that experience and the paralysis which gripped the institution on both occasions that has ensured the speed with which the showdown over the Duke and Duchess of Sussex has been planned.
Above all the Queen is determined not to repeat the mistakes of the past.
So the ruthlessness of the stripping of Diana’s Her Royal Highness title, the repercussions of which linger to this day, is unlikely to be repeated with the Princess’s son and his wife.
Staff have been asked to prepare the Long Library, which used to house a bowling alley. And it will certainly be familiar to both Harry and Prince William. As children when the nursery was full at Christmas time, it was where they used to come for high tea with Princess Diana and their royal cousins
Unlike Diana, who only gained her HRH through marriage — which meant removing it on her divorce from Charles was logical if unnecessarily harsh for the mother of a future king — Harry was born with his title. And Meghan received hers as Duchess of Sussex on their marriage.
January at Sandringham is one of the Queen’s favourite times of the year. After the comings and goings of Christmas and children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren depart, the Norfolk estate settles into a routine that has barely changed since the Queen came to the throne nearly seven decades ago.
Although she likes to rise at 7.30 each morning, she doesn’t take breakfast until 9am and there is always a more relaxed air around the house. At 93 she tends to remain in her private rooms on the first floor a little longer these days, typically till about 10.30am.
The month is dominated by shooting parties with guests arriving on a Thursday evening and staying till Monday morning.
This weekend it was the turn of her grandson Peter Phillips to welcome his friends and he was very much the dutiful figure alongside the Queen when she attended the service at Sandringham’s parish church, St Mary Magdalene, yesterday.
But because of this week’s summit his party broke up early with guests leaving Sandringham after Sunday lunch.
The days are just beginning to lengthen and the Queen enjoys spotting the first signs of spring in the countryside around her.
Unless it is very windy or cold she likes to take Vulcan and Candy, her two dorgis — a cross between the corgi and dachshund breed — for a daily walk. There is unlikely to be time for that walk today.
Lunch will be offered beforehand in the dining room and an afternoon meeting would allow three hours until 5pm, when the Queen expects to take tea. Bookending the summit between meals is also being seen as a way of keeping the temperature down
According to insiders there is considerable anxiety ahead of today’s meeting.
Despite this still being the holiday season for the Queen, the winter court means there is a full complement of domestic and official staff, around 35 in all at the ‘big house’. These include up 15 footmen, pantry staff and ten housemaids, as well as chefs and chauffeurs.
The Queen also has three dressers — including the reassuring presence of her senior dresser Angela Kelly — and her page Barry Mitford in attendance.
Prince Philip, who is expected to have a significant role as the Queen’s sounding board, has his valet Stephen Niedojadlo.
Two other key figures are also present: the Queen’s private secretary Sir Edward Young and her senior lady-in-waiting Lady Susan Hussey, widow of former BBC chairman Duke Hussey.
Lady Susan is likely to be the pivotal figure. Not only is she a trusted friend of the Queen and a confidante of Prince Charles — she is always a guest at his birthday parties — Lady Susan is also a godmother of Prince William.
‘Although it is unlikely she will sit in on the discussions, she will be close at hand and will very much support the Queen and Prince Charles whatever they decide,’ says a source.
For Sir Edward, 53, a former banker and Tory party adviser, the outcome of the meeting could determine his own future.
Some courtiers and even other members of the Royal Family —believed to include Princess Anne and Prince Edward — have been critical of his role in failing to prevent the sorry affair turning into a massive royal crisis.
This follows criticism he received for his perceived shortcomings over the scandal that has engulfed Prince Andrew.
His job will also be to brief Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill because of the implications for the UK Government if Harry and Meghan are permitted to move to Canada and the questions about their status and security that will follow.
Also around the large polished table, with its eight chairs, which dominates one end of the Long Library are expected to be Prince Charles’s canny private secretary Clive Alderton and William’s top aide and former civil servant Simon Case.
The big showdown: Sandringham House and the two main rooms where the Royal Family will meet. He may not take part, but the views of Prince Philip, above, will certainly be made plain
Prince Harry’s private secretary, ex-diplomat Fiona Mcilwham, is expected to complete the group.
Yesterday, it was claimed that the Duchess of Sussex would also be participating in the discussions via telephone link from Canada, where she has been reunited with baby Archie. However, insiders say it is unlikely that there will be an open line from Sandringham to Vancouver.
‘While the Queen has no objection in principle to Skype or conference calls, for clarity’s sake it is more likely that Harry will break off from the negotiations to call the Duchess,’ says an aide.
For the Queen, the trick will be calming any royal hotheads. While she herself is often inscrutable, even in private, other family members find it harder to hide their emotions — particularly the Prince of Wales.
It is one of the reasons why the Queen instructed that the meeting should be held at Sandringham. ‘It sends out a strong message,’ says one of her former officials.
‘First it says she is not budging, Norfolk is where she is in January therefore you come to her.
‘Secondly, it is a private home not an official one, like Buckingham Palace, and she hopes that Harry will get the distinction.’ For the duration of the meeting, normal life at Sandringham will come to a halt. Housemaids will be ordered to clean on the other side of the house and footmen will be confined to the pages’ vestibule.
The exact time of the meeting is not clear but privately staff believe it will begin at 2pm.
Lunch will be offered beforehand in the dining room and an afternoon meeting would allow three hours until 5pm, when the Queen expects to take tea. Bookending the summit between meals is also being seen as a way of keeping the temperature down.
For Charles, who was so impressed when he met Meghan Markle for the first time, his sense of disappointment at the turn of events is said to be profound. He was baffled by the couple’s decision to move to Windsor and where, unsurprisingly, Meghan was ‘bored’ living directly beneath the Heathrow flightpath. It has tested the father-son relationship.
For the dozens of dedicated and loyal staff who work for the Queen there is a sense of great shock at Harry and Meghan, whom they see as ‘ungrateful and selfish’.
According to insiders they first had a hint something was up when it was suggested that the Royal Household might help with building the couple’s new Sussex Royal website.
On learning that it would be promoting their commercial ambitions, the household officials quietly withdrew the offer. Harry and Meghan’s bombshell that they plan to ‘step back’ from royal life hasn’t quite ruined the new year season, but it’s been close.
Five days of revelation and confrontation has brought little good cheer. It has triggered not just royal exasperation but provoked public anger, too.
Weekend opinion polls exposed both a generational divide over attitudes towards the monarchy in dealing with the crisis, and also fury at the idea that quitting as royals and moving to North America should not mean at least some loss of privileges for Harry and Meghan.
As final preparations for the meeting were being made last night, one question remained. Will Harry take the chance today to seek out the one figure beside the Queen he most respects: his grandfather Prince Philip?
While the Duke of Edinburgh will not attend the meeting, his presence is bound to be felt.
Ever since his discharge from hospital just before Christmas, Philip has occupied his own suite of rooms at Sandringham House, taking his meals alone and rarely venturing out. Family members do go in to see him and the Queen is certain to keep him informed.
While it may be too late to keep Harry to his royal obligations, Philip, with a lifetime of public service behind him, may at least leave him with something to think about.
Meghan Markle’s REAL dream is to move to Los Angeles… but only after Donald Trump’s presidency ends, say pals
By Rebecca English for the Daily Mail
Harry and Meghan may settle in the US eventually – but not while President Donald Trump is in charge.
Friends have told the Daily Mail that while the couple plan to live in Canada at first – although probably not on Vancouver Island – their ultimate aim is to have a home and business in Los Angeles.
Meghan grew up in the city and her mother, Doria Ragland, still lives there. Miss Ragland, 63, was seen walking her two dogs near her home last week after the royal couple’s bombshell news.
However, staunch Democrat Meghan, who has openly been critical of Mr Trump and missed the President’s state visit to the UK last year, has said that she will not move to the US while he is in charge.
Harry and Meghan have a ‘long-term plan’ to end up in the US with a second home in Canada, close friends of the Sussexes have revealed. The royal couple will not settle in the US while President Donald Trump, who Meghan described as ‘divisive’ in 2016, is in charge
The Duchess of Sussex described Trump (pictured on January 9) as ‘misogynistic’ during his presidential campaign and pledged to vote for his rival Hilary Clinton. She told Trump that she would be moving to Canada if he won, to which he recently responded by saying: ‘I didn’t know that she was nasty’
‘It’s by no means an immediate thing but there is a long-term plan to end up back in the US with a second home in Canada, where they will also spent a great deal of time,’ the source said.
‘The couple used the words North America in their statement about where they planned to live deliberately. It doesn’t pin them down to any one place.’
An aide stressed that negotiations over the couple’s future were only taking place with the UK and Canadian governments but said nothing could be ruled out.
In 2016, before she met Harry, Meghan called Mr Trump ‘divisive’ and ‘misogynistic’. She pledged to vote for his presidential rival Hillary Clinton and threatened to move to Canada if he won.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle spent their first Christmas with baby Archie at this £10million waterfront mansion on Vancouver Island and may be heading back to the west coast of Canada
Source: Read Full Article