QUEEN TO TELL HARRY TRUE COST OF FREE­DOM

Her Majesty to spell out fi­nan­cial terms of step­ping down for Royal cou­ple

Daily Express - - Front Page - By Richard Palmer Royal Cor­re­spon­dent

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.

Con­trol

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.

Pic­ture: TOLGA AKMEN/AFP

Wounded Wind­sors...Meghan and Harry have fallen out with Wil­liam, left, and Prince Charles, above

‘This is no time for soft­ball’...Pa­trick Jeph­son

Pic­tures: JOE GID­DENS/PA, TOBY MELVILLE/REUTERS

The Queen yes­ter­day and, in­set, her hear­ing aid. Left, leav­ing the church

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