It’s the news the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been dreading since they revealed their intention to step down as full-time working royals in January 2020. As Buckingham Palace confirmed the couple were being stripped of their final royal patronages following their 12-month review, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle couldn’t help but fire one final shot of defiance at the Queen on their way out.
In a statement released by the palace on February 19, Queen Elizabeth, 94, said she was “saddened by their decision” not to return to the fold but added the pair “remain much loved members of the family”.
But hinting at the still-simmering tensions hiding just below the surface within the royal family, the couple hit back minutes later with a statement of their own. In it, Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, pledged their intention to continue supporting their previous patronages “regardless of an official role”. They then appeared to take a dig at the charitable work of the wider royal family. “We can all live a life of service. Service is universal,” they remarked.
The couple, who recently revealed they are expecting their second child, are believed to have hoped they could still represent the Queen while being “financially independent” through commercial endeavours, such as their content creator deals with Netflix and Spotify – which are reportedly worth as much as $260 million. However, Her Majesty was forced to put her foot down and tell the couple a half in-half out approach wouldn’t cut it.
“Being a Royal is all about public service, not serving yourself. If public service is not your primary purpose, and making money is, then it’s impossible to represent the Queen,” a source told UK newspaper the Daily Mail.
The shocking response from the duke and duchess, who quit their royal roles less than two years after their May 2018 wedding, stunned royal watchers. Some called the prince out for having the audacity to criticise his grandmother, who’s ruled the British throne for 69 years.
“It’s an insult for the Queen, who has dedicated her whole life to her people, to be lectured on service by Harry and Meghan,” said one on social media.
And it isn’t just members of the public who were blown away by the outburst.
The Duke of Cambridge, 38, is also reportedly “really sad and genuinely shocked” over the words of his younger brother. The once-close siblings have been working hard to put their feud behind them, but there are fresh fears they will never reconcile following the very public dressing down Harry gave the royal family.
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