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Royal couple did NOT tell Her Majesty, Prince Charles or William who all learned of their decision from TV - as aides complain of being 'stabbed in the back'

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to step back as senior royals

  • Royal Family 'deeply disappointed' as senior source says the household is 'shocked' and 'downright furious' 
  • Exasperate aide claims that people 'bent over backwards' to give Harry and Meghan whatever they wanted 
  • 'Devastated' Windsors are still keen to support the couple, despite being kept in the dark on their departure  
  • Duke and Duchess announced they will 'carve out a progressive new role' in a message on social media 
  • The personal statement surfaced without any discussion between the Sussexes and the rest of the family
  • Royal insider slammed the announcement as a 'shoddy' and unfair way to treat Her Majesty last night

Harry and Meghan have today been blasted by aides who claim the royal family 'bent over backwards for them' since they got together in 2016 only for the rebel couple to quit anyway without consulting the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William. 

Their dramatic decision was taken without the knowledge of their family, who learnt about the announcement as it broke on television news channels last night.

The couple, who plan to split their time between Britain and North America, 'pressed the nuclear button' and made the bombshell announcement just days after returning from a six-week break in Canada. 

One exasperated aide said: 'People had bent over backwards for them. They were given the wedding they wanted, the house they wanted, the office they wanted, the money they wanted, the staff they wanted, the tours they wanted and had the backing of their family. What more did they want?'

Another royal source said: 'It's deeply unfair to the Queen who doesn't deserve to be treated this way. It is a shoddy way to treat her. The family understands that they want to do something different and is perfectly willing to help them. People are just devastated.'

A senior royal source said the Queen and her family were 'deeply disappointed'. Another said the royals were 'shocked, saddened and downright furious' at the couple. 

The Queen is said to be furious at Harry and Meghan (pictured, at Canada House on January 7) as they step down as senior Royals
The Queen (pictured at King's Lynn railway station on December 20) is said to be furious at Harry and Meghan as they step down as senior Royals

The Queen (right at King's Lynn railway station on December 20) is said to be furious at Harry and Meghan (left, at Canada House on January 7) as they step down as senior Royals 

Pictured: The statement from Buckingham Palace following Harry and Meghan's social media announcement that they would be stepping down from senior Royal duties

Pictured: The statement from Buckingham Palace following Harry and Meghan's social media announcement that they would be stepping down from senior Royal duties 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex released this statement this evening announcing that they will be quitting as senior Royals

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex released this statement this evening announcing that they will be quitting as senior Royals 

Harry and Meghan set to make MILLIONS: Couple complain that their Royal roles mean they can't make their own money - despite being worth £34m (and they will still get a huge cash injection from Charles' estate) 

By Sam Greenhill, Chief Reporter for the Daily Mail 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex last night revealed they plan to relaunch their careers – potentially earning millions of pounds a year.

They will give up their income from the Sovereign Grant – the money taxpayers give to the Queen every year – and launch themselves onto the international celebrity circuit.

The Duke and Duchess (pictured, yesterday at Canada House in London) were said to be looking at making the move across the Atlantic where they would be based for a significant part of the year. Rumours abounded before they confirmed this evening that they would be splitting their time between the UK and North America

The Duke and Duchess (pictured, yesterday at Canada House in London) were said to be looking at making the move across the Atlantic where they would be based for a significant part of the year. Rumours abounded before they confirmed this evening that they would be splitting their time between the UK and North America 

Until now Harry and Meghan have been 'prohibited from earning any income in any form' – as they pointed out last night in a lengthy statement on their official website.

The couple issued a declaration that they were looking forward to 'becoming financially independent'. They said they had 'made the choice' to 'no longer receive funding' from the Sovereign Grant, adding: 'Their Royal Highnesses prefer to release this financial tie.'

No one knows how much the grant is worth to Harry and Meghan but in forfeiting it they have effectively liberated themselves from most accountability to taxpayers over their spending. 

Former film and television actress and a keen lover of the arts, the Duchess of Sussex is pictured leaving the Dorfman Theatre - which is part of the National Theatre - in London surrounded by her entourage shortly before she and Harry announced they were stepping down

Former film and television actress and a keen lover of the arts, the Duchess of Sussex is pictured leaving the Dorfman Theatre - which is part of the National Theatre - in London surrounded by her entourage shortly before she and Harry announced they were stepping down 

While the statement on the couple's website makes great play of the fact they are giving up the money from the Sovereign Grant, it does not say whether they will be making do without the cash they get from Prince Charles via his private £1.2billion Duchy of Cornwall estate – which some argue should be regarded as a public asset.

Charles paid £4.9million to his sons from his duchy income last year, of which slightly less than half is believed to have gone to Harry.

Yesterday the Sussexes said the money from Charles amounted to 95 per cent of their office expenditure. Harry's other wealth comes from his estimated £20million inheritance from his mother Princess Diana. He also banked around £7million from his great-grandmother the Queen Mother, who paid it into a trust fund in 1994. 

Meghan's net worth of around £4million came from having earned around £37,000 per episode as an actress in the US drama Suits.

Playing paralegal Rachel Zane, she starred in over 100 episodes, which put her annual pay at an estimated £333,000. She also appeared in several films, including romantic comedies and Horrible Bosses, where she had a 30-second cameo as a delivery girl.

Her role in the 2010 film Remember Me reportedly earned her £140,000, while she was paid £130,0000 for The Candidate in the same year. By keeping their royal titles – and given their high profiles on both sides of the Atlantic – Harry and Meghan are likely to be offered many lucrative engagements.

The world's top speakers can command up to half a million dollars (£380,000) for a single after-dinner speech. They may also be able to make money from merchandise. In the past few weeks, the couple have trademarked their Sussex royal brand on more than 100 items, from T-shirts, books and magazines to teaching materials and emotional support groups.

They submitted trademark applications for textbooks, footwear, headgear, coats, jackets – and even pyjamas. The couple have already managed to amass fortunes, estimated at £30million for Harry, and £4million for Meghan.

But the road ahead is fraught with danger if past royal commercial ventures are anything to go by. Images of the Duchess of York infamously counting bundles of cash in a News of the World sting were hard to shake off. Prince Edward once tried to combine royal duties with running a television production company, before it flopped.

And his wife Sophie Wessex was also caught by the News of the World uttering indiscretions when touting herself as a PR consultant. The costs of Harry and Meghan's lifestyle are high and likely to rise.

They employ a private secretary, who can earn up to £146,000, and a nanny for their son Archie who would also command a six-figure salary. London 'supernannies' who work for the capital's richest and most powerful families earn an average of £104,000, according to industry sources.

At Frogmore Cottage in Windsor they have a housekeeper – but no chef because Meghan loves cooking – two personal assistants and two palace orderlies probably earning between £20,000 and £30,000 each. The couple came under scrutiny in 2019 for their use of private jets when they travelled together. The trips were privately funded by the couple. Harry and Meghan want to be 'financially independent' and plan to earn their own income, which they say they are currently prevented from doing;

  • They will give up their right to money from the sovereign grant, but could still take money from Prince Charles;
  • They will also keep their police protection – funded by the taxpayer – and have offered to carry out a vastly reduced number of royal duties in Britain and elsewhere in the Commonwealth.
  • They will retain their home at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor as a UK base;

In their extraordinary statement, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said they wanted to 'carve out a progressive new role' and 'step back as 'senior' members of the Royal Family'.

They said they wanted to balance their time between the UK and North America, 'continuing to honour our duty to the Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages'.

The Mail understands that the couple raised their desire to seek out a new life a week ago and family members agreed to work with them in making it possible. 

But hours after they had visited the Canadian High Commission in London to thank them for their recent hospitality, the pair decided to go public with their decision – pressing the nuclear button, as one source described it.

Negotiations are at such an early stage that the couple still have no idea where they are going to live in North America, although Canada is clearly the favoured option.

Harry and Meghan have, in the words of one aide, 'no clue' as to how they will become financially independent – although for the moment are insisting they will continue to take money from the Prince of Wales to fund their official work.

Royals who have tried to go down this route include the Earl and Countess of Wessex, who were forced to give up their television production and PR careers after a series of scandals.

Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, who famously said they would go anywhere for a hot meal, and the Duchess of York, who made a string of disastrous business deals that led her to bankruptcy, have learned to their cost that it can be perilous balancing their privileged royal status with business matters.

Harry and Meghan have made no mention of giving up their royal titles or status and insist they will keep Frogmore Cottage, the home that was done up for them with £2.4million of public money. 

They will also keep their state-funded Metropolitan Police protection officers.

'It's a masterclass in wanting to have your cake and eat it,' one royal insider raged. 'Even their own staff cautioned against them making this public until they actually sat down and discussed it with the family properly.

'But they are in this weird bubble and have this strange siege mentality. 

'They feel like it's them against the world and are painting a very unfair picture of how this is a family that supposedly doesn't understand or support them, which is complete and utter rubbish.'

Another source said: 'The family is perfectly willing to help them but this was a discussion better had discreetly and quietly. 

'Why on earth they have put it out in the public domain is a decision only they can justify.

'They have no idea where they are going to live, have no idea how they are going to make their money.

'The feeling is one of deep disappointment that they have chosen to do this unilaterally and without prior warning or consultation. 

'And no one believes it will actually help them to have these kind of conversations and discussions in public.

'People understand they want to get things moving and there remains a desire to help them get this right but you do not turn 1,000 years of British royal history on its head in eight days.

'They have got to start working with people. It's hugely unfair to paint out that this is a fusty old institution that doesn't want to help them. 

'People have been bending over backwards looking at different ways of doing things.

'But they have made clear they still want to be paid by the public purse for their work and they have to accept that things need to be thought through carefully.' 

After their seismic falling out with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, followed by the decision to split their joint royal household, Harry and Meghan have battled to find their natural home within the Royal Family.

Sources say Harry told his grandmother more than a year ago that he and Meghan wanted to set up their own 'court' independent of Buckingham Palace and Clarence House, while retaining funding from them.

The prince was firmly told that this outcome would not be possible and that no one was 'bigger' – or more important – than the Queen.

The couple sullenly agreed to set up their new 'Sussex Royal' household under the Buckingham Palace umbrella, but have long been branded by insiders as 'awkward and childish' for refusing to work harmoniously alongside other members of the Royal Family. 

'The writing was on the wall a long time ago,' said one source with knowledge of the situation last night.

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 ITV programme they 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.  

Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of Sussex visit to Canada House on Tuesday before their announcement that they would be 'stepping back'
Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of Sussex visit to Canada House on Tuesday before their announcement that they would be 'stepping back'

What is the Sovereign Grant - and will Harry and Meghan REALLY be financially independent? 

Harry and Meghan say they will become financially independent from the taxpayer - but critics have claimed that if they remain serving royals this cannot be true. 

The royal family's work is partly funded from the Queen's personal wealth and the rest from the taxpayer. 

The total Sovereign Grant for the last financial year was £82.2million.

This was made up of a core grant of £49.3million - plus extra £32.9million to help pay for the 10-year £369million refurbishment of Buckingham Palace.

No one knows how much exactly the £49.3million is worth to Harry and Meghan but it is likely to run into millions. 

In forfeiting it they claim they will have liberated themselves from most accountability to taxpayers over their spending. 

But this  is not clear cut. The Sovereign Grant is also used to pay for Harry and Meghan's official royal travel, and their website said they 'proudly' carry out official overseas visits in support of the Queen, suggesting they will still continue to do so - and claim those costs.

In the last financial year they claimed £130,000 for travel costs, including £80,000 for their trip to Australia, New Zealand and Pacific islands such as Tonga and Fiji. 

This public money, known as the Sovereign Grant, was valued at £82.2million this year, and is comprised of profits from the Queen's property portfolio - the Crown Estate - which are paid to the Government.

Twenty-five per cent of these profits are paid to the monarchy to fund the upkeep of its property, travel, security and staff. 

While the Sovereign Grant isn't taxpayer money, it is considered to be public funds, belonging to the state. 

Harry and Meghan have only recently returned from their six-week break spent in the Canadian province of British Columbia with their eight-month-old son Archie.

Their first royal engagement of the new decade was to visit Canada's High Commission in central London to thank Canadians in person for the warmth of the welcome they received.

It is likely they will be spending their time in the Commonwealth country when not in UK and may travel to America, Meghan's homeland and where her mother lives.

Any move to Canada, even for a period of the year, would throw up important questions about Meghan and Harry's long-term future within the royal family.

Meghan, a former actress, lived and worked in Toronto during her time starring in the popular US drama Suits, and the couple were famously pictured together when Meghan joined her then-boyfriend Harry at the 2017 Invictus Games in the city.

The cost of security for the couple would also be an issue, and as Canada is a realm, a country where the Queen is head of state, it may have to pay for keeping the couple and their son Archie safe.

The couple's aim to be 'financially independent' may point towards them seeking a job, or a paid role with an organisation whose aims compliment their own beliefs.

Other members of the monarchy who have salaried jobs include the Queen's grandchildren Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and Peter Phillips, who all work for a living.

But the lows included rows over privacy, rifts with relatives, the launch of legal action and an attack on the press which overshadowed an official royal tour.

Even the Queen in her Christmas Day address spoke of the 'bumpy' path her family and the nation had experienced.

Harry and Meghan's statement announcing their decision soon after their return from a six-week break in Canada refers to their 'many months of reflection and internal discussions'. 

Harry and Meghan's Royal romance: From a star-studded wedding and the birth of Archie to a 'rift' with Prince William and controversy over their bid to 'modernise' the monarchy

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have announced they will be stepping back as senior royals - after a whirlwind two years in the public eye.

The Duke, 35, and Duchess of Sussex, 38, who made their first ever appearance together at the Invictus Games in Toronto on 25 September 2017, have squeezed in endless memorable moments in the time that has followed.  

Among their jam-packed schedule includes their official engagement announcement in November 2017, and the multi-cultural and US-influenced wedding that followed at Windsor Castle, on May 2018.

The star-studded day was filled with VIP guests and dominated by Hollywood stars including the Clooneys, the Beckhams, Idris Elba, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hardy and James Corden.

Other highlights since their big day include Meghan's lavish baby shower trip to New York, which is thought to have cost more than $500,000 (£380,000), Archie's birth on 6 May 2019, and their 10-day tour of Africa as a family late last year. 

Here, FEMAIL looks back at Prince Harry and Meghan's relationship timeline. 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle watched Wheelchair Tennis at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada on 25 September 2017 - in what marked their first public appearance together

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle watched Wheelchair Tennis at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada on 25 September 2017 - in what marked their first public appearance together

The Duke and and Duchess of Sussex with their baby son (Name later announced as Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor), who was born on May 6 2019 during a photocall in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle in Berkshire

The Duke and and Duchess of Sussex with their baby son (Name later announced as Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor), who was born on May 6 2019 during a photocall in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle in Berkshire

FIRST PUBLIC EVENT, 25 September 2017

Hand in hand, Prince Harry proudly brought his then-girlfriend Meghan Markle to a highly public tennis match on 25 September 2017 at the Invictus Games in Toronto - marking their first official appearance together as a couple.

The Suits star made an intriguing outfit choice, sporting a a £221 (retailing for $185 in the States) white shirt named The Husband, designed by her friend Misha Nonoo whose former spouse went to Eton with William and Harry, along with sunglasses and ripped blue jeans.

Their appearance was seen as a sign that an engagement was on the cards for the couple, and within hours of them stepping out together bookies Ladbrokes suspended betting on an engagement announcement.

The love birds arrived, fingers entwined, to the Invictus Games semi-final, in full view of members of the public and photographers.

The couple put on a show of togetherness with Harry leaning close to chat to his then-girlfriend during proceedings on 25 September 2017

The couple put on a show of togetherness with Harry leaning close to chat to his then-girlfriend during proceedings on 25 September 2017

ENGAGEMENT ANNOUNCEMENT, 27 November 2017

Prince Harry told how he was 'thrilled' to be marrying Meghan Markle and admitted he knew the Suits star was 'the one' from 'the first day we met'.

Meghan also showed the world her engagement ring designed by Harry himself containing two diamonds from Princess Diana's own personal collection set in a gold band.

Harry looked nervous but happy as they made their first public appearance since the announcement in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, much loved by his late mother Princess Diana.

His fiancee stroked his arm lovingly as they spoke to reporters, who asked him: 'When did you know she was the one?' and he replied: 'From the very first time we met'.

He refused to say how he proposed saying: 'That will come later' but when asked if it was romantic he said: 'Of course it was' - but the couple didn't kiss for the cameras.

The prince said he was 'thrilled, over the moon' adding: 'Very glad it's not raining as well.' Meghan said she was 'so happy, thank you' before they wandered back into Kensington Palace beaming.

The prince said he was 'thrilled, over the moon' adding: 'Very glad it's not raining as well' and both were full of smiles as they posed

The prince said he was 'thrilled, over the moon' adding: 'Very glad it's not raining as well' and both were full of smiles as they posed at Kensington Palace

Meghan's engagement ring's two outer diamonds are from Diana's own collection with a central diamond from Botswana - where they went on safari in September - all set within a gold band

Meghan's engagement ring's two outer diamonds are from Diana's own collection with a central diamond from Botswana - where they went on safari in September - all set within a gold band

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Comment by S. Young on January 11, 2020 at 8:50pm
I don't know why they expect Harry to play nice after what "they" did to his mother.
Comment by vaughn mitchell on January 9, 2020 at 3:10pm
His wife will get the blame

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