QUEEN TO TELL HARRY TRUE COST OF FREEDOM
Her Majesty to spell out financial terms of stepping down for Royal couple
THE Queen and senior royals will spell out the full cost of quitting the Firm to Harry and Meghan during their showdown at Sandringham today.
Top aides have laid down options that would allow the Duke and Duchess of Sussex varying
degrees of freedom amid a crisis threatening the future of the monarchy.
And – for the first time after several days of discussions – the couple will be confronted with the true price of their liberation from a life of Royal duty.
The Queen, Prince Charles, and the Duke of Cambridge will hold face-to-face talks with Harry on the Norfolk estate to discuss the crisis for the first time. They insist they have no desire to cut the Sussexes adrift or punish them.
They new parents want the freedom to earn a professional income, divide their time between homes in Britain and Canada and see Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, more regularly in Los Angeles.
Despite a public outcry that could have implications for the future popularity of the monarchy, Charles, 71, has indicated he is still willing to provide Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, with some money from his £21million annual income from the Duchy of Cornwall.
But the harsh reality of setting themselves free from the financial support of the state will be presented to them.
Charles was believed to have arrived at Sandringham from Oman last night for the summit.
Meghan, at a Canadian bolthole with the couple’s eight-month-old son Archie, is expected to join the conference by phone.
Security costs, their Frogmore Cottage home on the Windsor estate, which was revamped using £2.4million of taxpayer money, and other Royal perks, are on the table for discussion.
More freedom will bring a greater personal cost, although the couple have indicated they are willing to walk away from it all and lose their HRH titles if necessary.
Courtiers acknowledge that a financial link would give the House of Windsor some degree of control over the Sussexes.
This comes in the face of threats that they might embarrass the family in a TV interview reminiscent of Princess Diana’s appearance on Panorama in 1995. It damaged the monarchy for years.
But Diana’s former private secretary Patrick Jephson said the couple’s decision to set up a shadow US office, with publicists, lawyers and briefings against Buckingham Palace, had slashed chances of a compromise. Mr Jephson said: “There comes a point when attempts to build bridges must give way to the overriding need to safeguard what’s left. To borrow an apt American sporting term, this is no time for Buckingham Palace to play softball.” One risk is that if the couple are cut free totally, they may tarnish the Royal Family’s reputation by entering into murky commercial deals.
The Sussexes’ patronages are nervous about their desire to step back and mix lucrative commercial work with part-time Royal duties.
Some supporters are demanding they step down if they cannot give sufficient time to charities and, in Harry’s case, his role as Captain General of the Royal Marines.
James Glancy, a former captain in the Royal Marines and Special Boat Service, said he and many colleagues would no longer raise a toast to their Captain General if he tried to earn money from his royal status.
Mr Glancy, who was decorated for service in Afghanistan, said: “Everyone was up in arms when they talked about the privatisation of the NHS. So people are up in arms about an American wanting to privatise the monarchy.
“You either do one or the other. You don’t sit as Captain General and think you can make millions of pounds because that opportunity isn’t available to a soldier on £20,000 a year.” Harry and Meghan’s decision to prematurely go public with their desire to become semi-detached royals has exposed the Windsor clan rift.
It was reported yesterday that William, 37, told a friend: “I’ve put an arm around my brother all of 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 Duke and Duchess of Sussex have fallen out with just about all their family, apart from Meghan’s mother, and upset several staff. The Queen, who has popped round to see the couple regularly at Windsor in an effort to help them settle, has had to admonish Meghan several times for being rude to employees.
She has long told friends that she is “disappointed” in the couple and the way they have approached Royal life.
The 93-year-old monarch put on a brave face yesterday at church at
Sandringham, where she was joined by her grandson, Peter Phillips, 42, who was there with some friends who had been at a shooting party.
Asked how his grandmother was bearing up, Princess Anne’s son hesitated briefly before smiling and replying: “All right.”
A Royal source said Prince Philip, 98, nicknamed Meghan “The Dow” – Duchess of Windsor – after Wallace Simpson, even before the couple were married.
He is understood to have deep reservations about the way the situation has developed. Meghan only spent three days in Britain last week following a sevenweek break spent mostly at a £10.7million seafront home on Canada’sVancouver Island.
She flew back there on Thursday to be reunited with Archie, who had stayed there with a nanny.
It is not clear when she will return to Britain at present and Harry is expected to join her soon.
Airport staff confirmed the Duchess had landed at Vancouver Island’s Victoria airport and there was a reported sighting of her at a hotel on Friday. However, sources in Canada suggested she might have been intending to go on to Los Angeles, taking Archie to stay with her mother.
Bruce Hallsor, of the Victoria branch of the Monarchist League of Canada, said he believed Harry and Meghan would look for a home in two places. He mooted Vancouver, 60 miles from on the mainland from where they have been staying, or Canada’s capital Ottawa.
AT THE age of 93, and with 98-year-old husband Prince Philip in declining health, the Queen should not be having to host a crisis summit to protect the monarchy from the damage of an unnecessary family rift.
And yet, just as she has done throughout her life, she is putting her duty foremost, trying to steady the Royal ship.
How sad that it should have come to this. It is less than two years since the nation thrilled to the wedding of Prince Harry and his beautiful American bride Meghan and took the couple to their hearts.
If Meghan has struggled to come to terms with Royal life and with motherhood then she deserves our sympathy. If Harry is still weighed down by the trauma of his mother’s death then that would be tough enough for anyone to cope with.
And if there is any truth to reports of racist or sexist behaviour towards Meghan from within the Royal Household then that must be rooted out.
But there is a price to be paid for the kind of freedom the Duke and Duchess desire. Can they retain their security protection, their home upgraded at public expense and other perks? And might they lose treasured patronages and even their titles?
Her Majesty will not shirk from spelling out the stark facts while trying to keep her grandson close. We sincerely hope the Duke and Duchess can play their part to find a solution that works for all.
Wounded Windsors...Meghan and Harry have fallen out with William, left, and Prince Charles, above
‘This is no time for softball’...Patrick Jephson
The Queen yesterday and, inset, her hearing aid. Left, leaving the church