The Queen sent Harry an email outlining her thoughts on the exit and making clear she believed only full dedication was possible as a member of the royal frontline. Royal commentator Emily Andrews said the message was sent 10 days ago, before the Queen had even heard about Harry and Meghan’s planned interview with Oprah Winfrey.
The content of this letter has not been disclosed by Buckingham Palace, but Ms Andrews claimed it mirrored her thoughts on public service later included in the Queen’s official statement shared on Friday.
The Mail on Sunday’s royal editor wrote on Twitter: “The Queen wrote Harry a personal letter 10 days (or so) ago to conclude matters.
“At that point Her Majesty the Queen didn’t know about Meghan and Harry’s interview with Oprah.
“It had been kept a secret, so it was irrelevant to her ‘decision’, entirely consistent with last year’s Sandringham Summit.
“Yes Harry, in particular, wanted to keep his titles but there’s no royal ‘half-in, half-out’.”
Ms Andrews claimed the Queen’s letter was sent after Prince Harry “pushed to get things sorted” in January.
Speaking about the impact the Oprah interview had on the Queen’s decision over Megxit, Ms Andrews added: “The Queen’s decision was NOT influenced [by the interview] but she didn’t know and wasn’t very happy.
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“Her letter was sent by email, mid-week, while Harry and Meghan were recording with Oprah at their Californian home.
“In it contained that phrase on public service. The Queen’s view is clear.”
Buckingham Palace issued a statement on Friday in which the monarch announced her decision to sever links between Meghan and Harry and their royal patronages.
The statement read: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have confirmed to Her Majesty The Queen that they will not be returning as working members of The Royal Family.
“Following conversations with The Duke, 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.”
The brief statement ended with a deeply personal note.
It read: “While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much-loved members of the family.”
A Buckingham Palace source said the Queen had made her decision following “conversations between the Duke of Sussex and members of The Royal Family.”
As a result of the Queen’s ruling, Meghan lost two out of her four patronages – the National Theatre and the Association of Commonwealth Universities, both passed on to her by the Queen in January 2019.
The Duke of Sussex had to relinquish his links to The Rugby Football Union and The Rugby Football League.
And, most painfully for him, the Duke also had to relinquish his three honorary military titles of Captain-General of the Royal Marines, Honorary Air Force Commandant of RAF base Honington and Honorary Commodore–in–Chief of Small Ships and Diving.
Prince Harry and Meghan responded to the Queen’s public announcement with their own statement, reading: “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.
“We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.”