Britain’s royal family is hurt and disappointed by Prince Harry and his wife Meghan’s surprise announcement that they will step back from their senior roles and spend more time in North America, a royal source said.
Harry and Meghan’s decision to step away from royal duties sent shock waves through the royal family as neither Queen Elizabeth nor Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, had been consulted on the announcement, made on Instagram.
Elizabeth, who has devoted her life to the public duty of monarchy since she became queen in 1952, and other senior members of the family felt hurt and disappointed by the move, a royal source said.
The Queen has asked staff to work with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to find a workable solution after the couple announced they will step back as senior royals.
The BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell said Her Majesty had been in touch with the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge.
They directed senior staff to work with the Sussex household and government.
Harry and Meghan made their announcement late on Wednesday, taking Queen Elizabeth, Harry’s grandmother, and Prince Charles, Harry’s father, by surprise.
“We have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” Harry and Meghan said in their statement.
“We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family, and work to become financially independent.”
They said the decision was taken after months of reflection and discussion, and that they would split their time between the United Kingdom and North America to allow their family the space it needs.
Cast by the couple as an exciting next step, it was not immediately clear how the couple will become what royal biographers said was akin to being a “half royal” – and who will pay for their transatlantic lifestyles.
No senior royal has yet commented on the decision. British tabloids said the announcement had left senior royals such as Prince Charles and Harry’s brother, Prince William, incandescent with rage.
Buckingham Palace said discussions with Harry and Meghan were at an early stage and that such complicated issues took time to work out.