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Queen wants 'solution' to Harry and Meghan 'within days not weeks'
10 January 2020, 08:24
The Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge have ordered their teams to find a "workable solution" over the future role of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex within the royal family.
A Buckingham Palace insider told reporters said the senior royals have asked aides to work "at pace" with governments and The Sussex Household and an outcome was expected to take "days, not weeks".
The move comes after Harry and Meghan released a bombshell statement on Wednesday saying they would be "stepping back" as senior royals.
The Queen and other members of the family were said to be left "hurt" by Harry and Meghan's decision to issue a personal statement, which outlined their future lives as financially independent royals who will divide their time between the UK and North America.
LBC News believes the royal family will have to engage in talks between multiple governments to ensure protection arrangements are in place for the Sussexes and their son Archie.
One of the most difficult issues to resolve will be the close protection the couple receives from the Met Police. Currently, officers from the Royalty and Specialist Protection command provide round the clock bodyguards for their pair.
Discussions are likely to revolve around the issue of their status as 'Internationally Protected Persons' and discussions between the UK, USA and Canada would be likely to discuss which country would take responsibility for their protection.
It is likely Home Secretary Priti Patel would also have to be involved in any talks as her department is responsible for royal security, as well as representatives from the Foreign Office.
Within 24 hours of the announcement, Meghan has returned to Canada where eight-month-old son Archie is said to have stayed with his nanny when his parents flew back to London.
Given the Queen's timetable of "days" it is likely they will want any talks concluded before the Prince of Wales travels to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories at the end of the month, to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the former Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau.
It appears the head of state tried to forestall any announcements after her grandson asked to meet at her private Sandringham estate, the Evening Standard newspaper reported, only to be "ignored" by the couple.
The latest developments reveal the divisions within the heart of the British monarchy which has already been rocked by the Duke of York's disastrous television interview about his relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Harry and Meghan went ahead and released their personal statement on Wednesday evening which was a "bolt from the blue" for Buckingham Palace, sources told the Press Association.
The Duke and Duchess, who have only recently returned from a six-week stay in Canada with eight-month-old son Archie, said in a statement: "After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution.
"We intend to step back as 'senior' members of the royal family and work to become financially independent while continuing to fully support Her Majesty the Queen."
Meghan received a public boost from her close friend Jessica Mulroney, a Canadian stylist and TV star, who posted a quote attributed to Gina Carey, which said: "A strong woman looks a challenge in the eye and gives it a wink."
The couple was also supported by writer and journalist Bryony Gordon, who defended the Duke and Duchess in a column in The Daily Telegraph.
"Their decision to 'step back' can only be positive, a move that will enable a young family to live their lives properly while still flying the flag for Britain," Ms Gordon wrote.
"While some have chosen to interpret the news as the couple wanting to enjoy a lavish lifestyle without any of the scrutiny, a more accurate reading of the situation is that they want to be able to express their views and pursue their campaigning passions without coming under constant fire for doing so."
However, a series of commentators have strongly criticised their decision with public relations and crisis consultant Mark Borkowski saying about the Sussexes "It does feel like a royal couple in exile".
It is already known the Queen, Prince of Wales and other senior royals were not consulted about the content of the couple's statement or knew it was to be issued.
But the Standard said Charles and the Duke of Cambridge only received it 10 minutes before it was released.
Over the festive period the newspaper stated Charles told his son to come up with a thought out plan for his wish to spend more time in Canada and America, and when he put forward a draft proposal was told time was needed to consider its implications, particularly funding.
The Queen agreed to Harry's request to meet when he returned from Canada but the duke was told his grandmother would not discuss his proposals before he had talked them through with his father.
Despite the request not to make any announcements the Sussexes published their statement.
Buckingham Palace would not comment on the latest developments in the Harry and Meghan saga, but it is likely royal aides are organising the duke's showdown meeting with his father and the Queen.
The Sussexes have outlined their future plans in their statement and it will be for royal household staff and aides to work together to make them a reality.