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Harry and Meghan believe they are being 'driven out' by Buckingham Palace, says friend

Buckingham Palace denies couple were told they had no part in 'slimmed-down monarchy'

Vincent Wood
Saturday 11 January 2020 01:23 GMT
Harry and Meghan: A timeline

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex feel they are being “driven out” of the royal family after they were told they would not have major roles in a “slimmed-down monarchy,” a friend has claimed.

ITV news anchor Tom Bradby said Prince Harry and Meghan were made aware, while away in Canada for six weeks, that the royal household’s focus in the future would be on those at the top of the line of succession.

Buckingham Palace moved quickly to shrug off suggestions it had shown the door to the couple, insisting the Sussexes had been “very much at the heart” of plans for the royal family’s future before a shock announcement they were stepping back from public life.

Harry and Meghan’s plans were announced in a statement on Wednesday that rocked the royal family and is said to have left the Queen and other senior royals “hurt”.

Mr Bradby, who is friends with the couple, told an ITV news programme: “It had been made clear to them in their absence there was going to be a slimmed-down monarchy and they weren’t really a part of it.”

He added: ”Certainly the rest of the family find Harry and Meghan very difficult and, from Harry and Meghan’s point of view, they’re just being driven out as they see it.”

But The Times reported that palace officials had stressed Harry and Meghan had always been central to the monarchy’s plans, with one aide quoted as saying: “It is strongly disputed that the Sussexes are not at the centre of any future slimmed-down monarchy.”

The aide added: “I don’t think you could point to any evidence of them being forced out, or made to feel unwelcome.

“The future of the monarchy always had the Sussexes very much at the heart of it, and perhaps still will, depending on what structures they arrive at.”

Talks on the Duke and Duchesses’ future roles in the royal household began in earnest on Friday at the urging of the Queen – following reports she had pressed officials to ensure a remedy to the situation was found in days, as opposed to weeks.

The couple hope talks over their future roles can be concluded ”sooner rather than later”, a source said, adding: “It is in everyone’s interest for this to be figured out, and figured out quickly, but not at the expense of the outcome.”

An opinion poll for the Daily Mail found 76 per cent of the British public believes Harry and Meghan should sacrifice their Metropolitan Police protection after they step back from their senior royal roles. Some 73 per cent said the same for taxpayer funded security measures.

Donald Trump also waded into the debate on Friday, with the US president saying he was “sad” for the Queen.

In an interview with Fox News, he said: “I think it’s sad. She is a great woman. She has never made a mistake. If you look she has had like a flawless time.

“I just have such respect for the Queen, I don’t think this should be happening to her.”

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