Robert Lacey, author of Battle of Brothers, claimed the Sussex royals were set to be sent to South Africa by the Queen. The author of Battle of Brothers said the monarch was aware of the Sussex royal’s issues and wanted to “give everyone a breather”.
Mr Lacey said Meghan and Harry were supposed to get “out of the country for a decent spell”.
The Queen’s plan was to send the Sussex royals to South Africa with “some role” in the “British Commonwealth of Nations”, which would be a “highly personal token of trust”.
Meghan and Harry were reportedly intrigued by the plan, but ultimately turned it down in favour of stepping down from full time royal duties.
The Queen is believed to have considered the arrangement because of her own experiences in Malta after she married Prince Philip.
The monarch spent two years from 1949 to 1951 living in the country while Philip served in the Navy.
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The royal author said in his book the Queen knew of Harry and Meghan’s “wish to live an ‘ordinary’ existence”, and felt a connection to her time in Malta.
Mr Lacey said: “In Malta, Elizabeth had tasted ‘normal’ life as a young naval officer’s wife, not a king’s daughter. It had set her up well to come back home and do her duty.
“Modern South Africa, with its black-majority rule, could be just the spot — and the couple themselves seemed interested by the notion.
“Their relationship had taken flower in Africa after all, so maybe it, or somewhere else in the Commonwealth, might provide their next step. Johannesburg could be their Malta.”
However, Mr Lacey said the proposal failed because Sir Edward Young, then-private secretary, clashed with Meghan.
A palace insider told Mr Lacey: “Meghan came to perceive Young as the inflexible, bureaucratic figure who summed up what was at fault with the palace mentality, and the feeling was mutual. Young really came to dislike Meghan’s style.”
Another insider added the South Africa plan failed because of Sir Edward’s inability to manage the Royal Family, and said: “The tragedy, was that the Queen’s broader objective was actually to bring everyone back together, not to split them apart.
“There were obviously points of principle to defend, but Edward got stuck in the detail. He could not see the bigger picture.
“This sort of family negotiation requires trust, along with the accepting of uncertainties and ambiguities.“
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Meghan and Harry never publicly commented on reports of the planned South Africa stay.
Ultimately the couple decided to step away from royal duties, announcing their plans in January last year.
They said in a statement at the time: “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.”