The Queen’s sub­jects would never have let them have their cake and eat it

The Sunday Telegraph - - Front Page - By Camilla Tominey AS­SO­CIATE ED­I­TOR

Make no mis­take – last night’s state­ment rep­re­sents the hard­est pos­si­ble Megxit for the Duke and Duchess of Sus­sex. While in­sist­ing Harry, Meghan and Archie “will al­ways be much loved mem­bers of my fam­ily”, the 93-yearold monarch could not be clearer on their on-go­ing role in the Firm.

It’s over.

The dual state­ment – both from the Queen as a grand­mother and Buck­ing­ham Palace as an in­sti­tu­tion – ap­peared pur­posely de­signed to com­bine both the per­sonal and the pro­fes­sional. Since the monar­chy isn’t just a fam­ily but a busi­ness, what other op­tion was there when two of its ma­jor share­hold­ers had de­clared their in­tent to start a ri­val firm in North Amer­ica?

The Duke and Duchess of Sus­sex had handed in their no­tice – and this was the Queen giv­ing them their P45.

In pay­ing trib­ute to the cou­ple and show­ing sup­port for their wish for a more in­de­pen­dent life, the Queen was speak­ing from the heart. It is no se­cret be­hind Palace gates that she has been left dev­as­tated by their bomb­shell state­ment on Jan 8 – and by her own ad­mis­sion last Mon­day; she would have pre­ferred her grand­son and his wife to have re­mained full-time work­ing mem­bers of the Royal Fam­ily.

Yet as only some­one who has spent nearly 68 years on the throne knows, a monar­chy can­not func­tion on sen­ti­ment alone. Hav­ing al­ways in­sisted that the roy­als can only ap­pear on the Buck­ing­ham Palace bal­cony for as long as there are well­wish­ers in the Mall, the Queen’s head clearly told her that her sub­jects were never go­ing to stom­ach let­ting Harry and Meghan have their cake and eat it. The mother of the na­tion had rightly read the mood.

In­deed, af­ter ref­er­enc­ing the “in­tense scru­tiny” they have faced over the last two years and their de­sire to start build­ing a “happy” and most no­tably “peace­ful” new life, there was re­ally no way she could have let them carry on be­ing half in-half out roy­als.

With Meghan al­ready cheer­fully car­ry­ing out her own en­gage­ments in Van­cou­ver and some Frog­more Cot­tage staff now as­signed to other du­ties, the idea of the cou­ple spend­ing a tran­si­tional pe­riod be­tween Canada and the UK was not just start­ing to look op­ti­mistic, but ab­surd. Yet in of­fer­ing to pay back the £2.4mil­lion spent on re­fur­bish­ing their home in Wind­sor, the cou­ple are at least com­mit­ting to keep­ing a base in Blighty. That is not to say that the state­ment did not con­tain some sur­prises. To strip Harry – a for­mer Army Cap­tain who has un­der­taken two tours of Afghanista­n – of his mil­i­tary ap­point­ments as well as royal du­ties may strike some as overly puni­tive. Be­com­ing a sol­dier was un­doubt­edly the mak­ing of the 35-year-old royal and the In­vic­tus Games re­mains his finest achieve­ment. But with some in the Royal Marines, of which Harry is Cap­tain Gen­eral, said to be “dis­gusted” by his be­hav­iour and threat­en­ing to refuse to raise a toast should he at­tempt to “com­mer­cialise” his royal role, the quest for fi­nan­cial in­de­pen­dence ap­pears at odds with such weighty royal re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

Hence why they will no longer re­ceive public funds – although whether the Prince of Wales will con­tinue to slip them Duchy of Corn­wall cash re­mains to be seen, amid re­ports the heir to the throne has been dip­ping into his pri­vate re­serves to keep his sons and their fam­i­lies afloat.

The Sus­sexes had hoped to con­tinue “fully sup­port­ing” the Queen while mo­bil­is­ing Sus­sex Royal as a global brand, but the in­struc­tion for them to nei­ther con­tinue of­fi­cially rep­re­sent­ing the Queen nor us­ing their HRH ti­tles sug­gests they may need to come up with a new moniker. As the state­ment states in the stark­est pos­si­ble terms: “They are no longer work­ing mem­bers of the Royal fam­ily.”

The un­der­ly­ing mes­sage was clear: Keep the Sus­sex by all means, but don’t count on the royal part.

As far as se­cu­rity goes, only time will tell if they are able to re­tain any pub­licly-funded staff. But it seems un­likely.

One can­not help but be left with the feel­ing that there are no win­ners here.

The Queen and the Royal Fam­ily have not only lost one of their most pop­u­lar fig­ures but a prince whose mar­riage to a mixed-race Amer­i­can di­vorcee had her­alded the dawn of a new pro­gres­sive era for the House of Wind­sor. Now that dream is over.

Yes, the Sus­sexes have got their free­dom but at what cost?

‘One can­not help but be left with the feel­ing there are no win­ners here. They got their free­dom ... but at what cost?’

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