Queen, Prince Harry, senior royals set for crisis talks

Queen Elizabeth has summoned her grandson Prince Harry for a crisis meeting to discuss future arrangements for him and his wife Meghan following the couple's shock announcement that they want to step back from royal duties.
A 2018 file photo of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II with her son Prince Andrew, grandson Prince Harry and his wife Meghan on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in London.
A 2018 file photo of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II with her son Prince Andrew, grandson Prince Harry and his wife Meghan on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in London.PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS

LONDON • Queen Elizabeth II will host a showdown meeting with Prince Harry today in an attempt to solve the crisis triggered by his announcement that he and his wife Meghan were stepping back from the royal front line.

Other senior royals including Harry's father Prince Charles and brother Prince William, with whom he has strained relations, will join the monarch at her private Sandringham estate in eastern England, according to British media.

Meghan will join the meeting via conference call from Canada as they attempt to work out the "next steps" towards a compromise.

Issues up for debate include how much money the couple will still receive from Charles' estate, their royal titles and what commercial deals they can strike, according to The Sunday Times in London.

The newspaper reported that William believes he and Harry are now "separate entities", breaking the bonds forged following their mother's tragic death. "I've put my arm around my brother all our lives and I can't do that any more; we're separate entities," the report said.

Harry, Meghan and their son Archie spent Christmas in Canada, with the American former actress returning there last week.

The Queen last Thursday demanded that staff work with the couple to find a "workable solution" that would take into account their demands for more freedom.

Canadian media reported that Meghan was back on Vancouver island, off the country's Pacific coast, where the family spent the year-end holidays and where Archie had stayed with his nanny while his parents returned to Britain.

Senior royals were caught off guard by last Wednesday's announcement that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex wanted to seek a "progressive new role" and divide their time between Britain and North America.

 
 

The younger prince, who has struggled with his role, last year revealed he has been growing apart from his brother, who as second in line to the throne is increasingly pursuing a different path.

Harry has been open about his mental health issues and he and Meghan last year admitted to struggling with the spotlight following their wedding at Windsor Castle in May 2018, and Archie's birth a year later.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2020, with the headline 'Queen, Prince Harry, senior royals set for crisis talks'. Print Edition | Subscribe