The Queen is said to be ‘hurt’ and has been left ‘disappointed’ by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle after the couple’s shock announcement this morning that they would be stepping down from their royal duties.
Buckingham Palace released an official statement speaking to rumours the Queen and senior members of the royal family had no idea of the pair’s plans to release a statement, with the Daily Mail even claiming the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William only found out via the news on television.
The short response from the palace states that discussions are at ‘an early stage’, contradicting Harry and Meghan’s statement that the decision has been made.
The statement has fanned the flames of rumours the Sussexes decision was made without the green light from Buckingham Palace.
“Discussions with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage,” the statement begins.
“We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.”
The statement not yet released on official royal channels has been shared by royal correspondents.
The palace response suggests that despite a public announcement from the pair, the decision has not been finalised, or possibly discussed, within the royal family.
Reports from the BBC state that no royals were consulted before the pair went public, describing the palace as ‘disappointed’ and ‘hurt’.
Royal correspondent, Jonny Dymond, added that the show of public disharmony confirmed a ‘major rift’.
"This is clearly a major rift between Harry and Meghan on one part, and the rest of the Royal Family on the other,” he wrote.
Royal expert Camilla Tominey told Today the statement is confirmation that the Palace is responding to an unexpected development, and labelled it a ‘tantrum’ from the divisive duo.
“It is true to say that the Queen and the palace had no idea this was coming which then explains the statement which is pretty hastily written, kind of one-sentence line and that for me smacks of a kind of instant PR reaction,” she told Karl and Ally.
“The Palace would be blindsided by this statement.”
Prince Harry Meghan Markle step back
Prince Harry and Meghan shocked the world when they announced they will "step back" as senior members of the royal family and will now divide their time between the UK and North America on Wednesday morning.
The couple's groundbreaking decision came in a statement shared to Instagram, and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said they will work to become financially independent while continuing to "fully support" the Queen.
"After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution," the couple said in their statement.
"We intend to step back as 'senior' members of the royal family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty the Queen.
"It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment.
"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."
The couple's move follows weeks of speculation about their future after they took an extended break from royal duties over the festive period that followed an emotional appearance in a documentary.
In the program, Harry and Meghan spoke about the pressures they have been facing and family rifts, and in a separate move Harry issued a damning statement against the media accusing sections of the press of bullying his wife.
Additional reporting by AAP.
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