Meghan Markle and Harry: How Queen decided on a ‘hard Megxit’
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are calling for an extension to their 12-month Megxit deal as Harry is intending to return to the UK to discuss the existing arrangements with his family in person. The couple’s initial deal with the Firm was discussed at the Sandringham Summit last year and came into action on March 31, when they officially left their working royals’ life behind. The arrangement will be reviewed by the Sussexes, the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William before this trial period comes to an end in three months’ time — and an array of touchy subjects are expected to be on the table.
The royal rebels had promised to work with “the values of Her Majesty” upon their royal exit, but this has been called into question by royal watchers repeatedly since their departure.
Journalist Harry Mount even suggested the Sussexes have set themselves up as the opposition to the Queen, rather than continuing to represent her “values”.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph, he said: “The most successful members of the Royal Family are those who — like the Gloucesters, the Wessexes and Princess Alexandra’s Kent brothers — are happy to offer Her Majesty steady background support.
“Those who set themselves up as rivals, like the Sussexes, are disasters.”
The Sussexes have been accused of trying to steal the Royal Family’s limelight on a handful of occasions since stepping down.
Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
The Queen gave Meghan and Harry a 12-month trial period after their Megxit agreement
Indeed, one of the many sticking points among royal fans was how the Sussexes appeared to have sprung their “declaration of independence” on the Firm back in January — allegedly giving Charles just 20 minutes notice before releasing their statement on social media.
When carrying out one of her final royal engagements in March, Meghan was accused of taking the limelight from the Duchess of Cornwall, when she released photos of a secret theatre visit as Camilla was delivering a momentous speech about domestic violence.
Last month, Harry’s alleged request for a wreath to be laid at the Cenotaph on his behalf was rejected.
He and Meghan then honoured Remembrance Day with a photoshoot of themselves at the Los Angeles National Cemetery, just as the Royal Family were gathering at the London Cenotaph to honour those lost in war.
Other reports suggested Meghan was “going crazy” that Kate and William’s Royal Train tour was so successful earlier this month.
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The royals who just support the Queen — like Princess Alexandra — are always considered a success
Meghan and Harry have wanted to be independent from the Firm even from the very early days of their marriage.
They had hoped to set up a household independent of Buckingham Palace, only for the Queen to slap down these ambitions.
Others believe she wanted them to move into Frogmore Cottage last year so she could keep a close eye on the pair.
The biography, Finding Freedom, claimed the couple wanted greater autonomy and recognition for their star power.
Authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand alleged: “As their popularity had grown, so did Harry and Meghan’s difficulty in understanding why so few inside the Palace were looking out for their interests.
“They were a major draw for the Royal Family.”
Yet the establishment reportedly “feared their popularity might eclipse that of the Royal Family”.
The authors added: “Increasingly, Harry had grown frustrated that he and Meghan often took a back seat to other family members.
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Harry and Meghan struggled with always having to take a backseat within the Firm
Harry and Meghan have made several public appearances since leaving the Firm
“While they both respected the hierarchy of the institution, it was difficult when they wanted to focus on a project, and were told that a more senior ranking family member, be in Prince William or Prince Charles, had an initiative or tour being announced at the same time — so they would have to wait.”
They wanted to call the shots themselves, which reportedly is an element of life Harry appreciates now he is in the US.
Life has changed drastically for the couple since they left the royal frontline.
Meghan and Harry have secured commercial deals with Netflix and Spotify, while the Duchess has recently invested in her first start-up, Clevr Blends.
While these projects have undoubtedly helped the couple find financial independence, the success of each venture remains to be seen.
Despite supposedly cashing in on their royal status through these deals, the couple are thought to still want to keep hold of their royal patronages when their Megxit arrangements are under review.
The Queen with the Royal Family on Buckingham Palace’s balcony
The Queen has now set up her team of seven senior royals (pictured)
They intend to be in the UK for the Queen’s 95th birthday in April, the Duke of Edinburgh’s 100th in June, and for the unveiling of a Princess Diana statue in July, depending on the coronavirus restrictions, and are likely to discuss Megxit then.
A top aide has predicted that negotiations may take a while, and advised: “Expect things to drag past March 31.
“The Sussexes have laid out their stall very clearly.”
One area which may be up for debate could be Harry’s military appointments, which he was stripped of back in March.
Another insider explained that if the Palace keeps those positions open “for as long as possible”, that “keeps that olive branch out”.