PRINCE Harry and Meghan Markle today announced they would be standing down as senior royals and moving to Canada, leaving the Queen “deeply upset” and Prince Charles and Prince William “incandescent with rage.”
A senior source said: “Their statement was not cleared with anyone. It breaks all protocol. This is a declaration of war on the family.
“There is fury over how they’ve done this without any thought for the implications for the institution. The Queen is deeply upset. The Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge are incandescent with rage.
“Courtiers can’t believe it. There are so many unanswered questions but they’ve just up and done it without a thought for anyone else.
“The plan was there to discuss it and work out a way that works for everyone in the family.”
‘DECLARATION OF WAR’
But when Harry and Meghan found out The Sun was breaking the story, they wanted to rush out a statement immediately.
“Harry and Meghan wanted it their way or the highway. So they’ve gone and exiled themselves from the Royal Family. It’s extraordinary.”
The statement said Harry and Meghan will work to become financially independent and will divide their time between the UK and North America. They will continue to “fully support” the Queen.
Buckingham Palace issued a curt statement last night stating discussion were at an “early stage.” It read: “We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.”
What we know so far:
The Sun has learned Harry and Meghan wish to keep Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor Estate and want their security bill paid for.
Frogmore Cottage was renovated recently at a cost of £2.4million to the taxpayer, while their reported six bodyguards cost £600,000 a year.
The pair also want to keep their titles as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Even some of the couple’s most senior staff were not aware of their plans.
Our source added: “They want to keep Frogmore and some of their staff. But no one knows how that is going to work. Most of the staff had no idea until The Sun’s story broke.
“And they want to keep up their level of royal security. How is that going to work if they are off acting like celebrities?”
The final straw for Harry and Meghan was the official release of a new royal portrait featuring The Queen, Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince George.
The insider said: “That picture was the clearest indication that Harry and Meghan are not considered part of the future of the institution. From their point of view from that moment on there was no point hanging around.”
Harry and Meghan were keen to make the announcement as soon as possible so they can start financial deals.
We told last year how the couple have quietly built up a commercial team in Hollywood, including Meghan’s former business manager and PR company Sunshine Sachs.
The source said: “Make no mistake, Harry and Meghan intend to make a lot of money and start taking commercial deals as soon as possible.”
The Sun broke the news yesterday that the couple are planning to move to Canada as they consider their future role in the Royal Family.
Long-term options being floated include the Sussexes relinquishing their HRH titles or relocating their office to Canada.
A friend of the couple told us: “It’s been a very tough year – they’re newlyweds and they have a young baby – so they’re looking at what their life looks like in the future. Everything is on the table.”
Harry and Meghan’s staff in the UK – who are likely to be made redundant – were not told before the announcement.
A source said: “It’s a shocking way to treat people.”