The Queen was keen to help Meghan and Harry experience a life as normal as possible in their early years of marriage, according to royal expert Robert Lacey. The royal commentator recalled reports published in the summer of 2019 which alleged that Meghan and Prince Harry were preparing for a sabbatical year in Africa, during which they would combine their work on the Commonwealth with humanitarian efforts.
Mr Lacey claimed in his book the Queen herself had discussed plans with senior aides to allow the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to temporarily live abroad.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, the expert said the monarch, having lived a few months of ordinary life as a newlywed with Prince Philip, was keen to allow Meghan and Harry to have the same experience while retaining their senior royal statuses.
He said: “It seems that this idea they could have lived abroad in the Commonwealth came from the Queen.
“When she realised that things were not going well, she looked back to the time she and Prince Philip spent in Malta before she became queen and what a wonderful time that was was to live a little of normal life.
“She understood their yearning for that ordinary life.
“So it seems that she is the one who suggested this, she set up a little group of people with Sir Christopher Geidt and Sir David Manning to work on this.
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“The idea was, originally, that perhaps they would live in Africa, then that switched to Canada because Meghan had all her links there.”
In his book, Battle of Brothers, Mr Lacey wrote: “The big idea was to get Harry and Meghan out of the country for a decent spell.
“It would give everyone a breather.
“The Queen wanted to offer both honour and responsibility to the couple by handing them some role in her beloved British Commonwealth of Nations – a highly personal token of trust.”
The Queen and Prince Philip lived in Malta between 1949 and 1951 while the Duke was stationed there as a naval officer.
Their life on the island came abruptly to an end after the death of King George VI in 1952.
Prince Harry himself spoke about the possibility to live in South Africa during the last leg of his successful tour to the African continent.
Appearing on the ITV documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, Prince Harry said: “I don’t know where we could live in Africa at the moment, you know. We’ve just come from Cape Town.
“It would be an amazing place for us to be able to base ourselves, of course, it would.
“But with all the problems that are going on there, I just don’t see how we’d be able to make as much difference as we want to, without the issues and the judgement of how we would be with those surroundings.
“I think It’s a very hard place to live when you know what is going on and then you’re, again, slightly disconnected from it.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced their intention to live between England and North America in January, after having issued a bombshell statement on their Instagram account in which they detailed their desire to carve out a new role for themselves in the Royal Family.
However, the ‘half-in, half-out’ solution they proposed was not accepted by the Queen, Prince William and Prince Charles.
Following a meeting between the three royals and Prince Harry at Sandringham, the Sussexes decided to step down as senior royals,
relinquish the use of their HRH styles as well as of the word royal in their first brand, Sussex Royal.
The couple, who officially stood down from public duties in late March, now live in California, where they have bought a home to share with their firstborn, Archie.