Queen Calls Crisis Meet With Harry, Meghan Over Their Future Roles
Queen Elizabeth II has summoned her grandson Prince Harry for face-to-face talks on Monday, 12 January, to discuss the future roles for him and his wife Meghan Markle following the couple's bombshell announcement that they want to "step back" from Britain's royal duties.
Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, his brother William, the Duke of Cambridge, and their father Charles, the Prince of Wales, have all been invited to the meeting at the Queen's Sandringham estate in Norfolk, while Meghan, who is in Canada with the couple's eight-month-old son Archie, is expected to join the discussion over phone.
The couple made their bombshell announcement on Wednesday that they intend to "step back" from being frontline royals, split their time between the UK and North America, and work towards becoming "financially independent".
According to royal insiders, the so-called Sandringham Summit is expected to thrash out some of the key details, but a complete resolution to the couple's expressed wish to split their time between the UK and North America and become financially independent is unlikely to be achieved at the end of Monday's meeting.
A concrete plan is expected to be broadly agreed and publicly announced some time in the coming week, with details left to be fleshed out over time.
Some of the issues to be discussed at the crisis talks would include how much "official" royal work Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, will do in the UK and overseas on behalf of the royal family and the government.
The crunch meeting presided over by the 93-year-old monarch, being dubbed a family showdown, will present Harry with a range of draft written proposals – compiled by a team of aides and private secretaries.
The Queen traditionally remains at Sandringham in the Norfolk county of England after Christmas until February 6, the anniversary of the death of her father, King George VI.
"The family will gather on Monday at Sandringham to talk things through. The Queen, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex will meet for the first time,"a Buckingham Palace source was quoted as saying by 'The Sunday Telegraph'.
"Following a series of meetings and consultations across the last few days there are a range of possibilities for the family to review which take into account the thinking the Sussexes outlined earlier in the week," the report said.
"Next steps will be agreed at the meeting and the request for this to be resolved at pace is still Her Majesty's wish. The aim remains for this to be in days, not weeks. There is genuine agreement and understanding that any decision will take time to be implemented," the source said.
It is hoped that when a deal is finally agreed for the way in which the Sussexes will spend their future lives, it will form a blueprint for future royal generations, including Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis – the children of William and Kate who are not in the direct line of succession for the British crown.
Meanwhile, William has spoken of his "sadness" at the broken bond with his younger brother.
According to 'The Sunday Times', William told a friend: "I've put my arm around my brother all our lives and I can't do that any more; we're separate entities".
"I'm sad about that. All we can do, and all I can do, is try and support them and hope that the time comes when we're all singing from the same page. I want everyone to play on the team," the 37-year-old second in line to the British throne is quoted as saying.
Harry is due to make his first public appearance on Thursday since renouncing his senior royal role, when he will host the Rugby League World Cup 2021 draws for the wheelchair tournaments, at Buckingham Palace.
The royal family was said to be "hurt" and "blindsided" by the couple's shock announcement, which they said was finalised after "many months of reflection and internal discussions".
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