Wednesday, February 21

Queen calls family crisis meeting



The Queen has summoned senior royals to an emergency summit at her Sandringham estate in Norfolk on Monday to discuss the future of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

The meeting, to be attended by the Queen, Prince of Wales, Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex, will be the first time the four have met since the Sussex crisis exploded on Wednesday.

While the Queen has been in Norfolk, Charles has been at Birkhall in Scotland, William at Kensington Palace, and Harry at Windsor.

The meeting will be an opportunity for them to discuss proposals, drawn up after a series of consultations between palace officials and representatives of the UK and Canadian governments over how Meghan and Harry can achieve their aim of carving out new “progressive” roles as hybrid royals.

The country’s most senior civil servant, cabinet secretary Sir Mark Sedwill, was reportedly one of the senior figures around the negotiating table, along with senior aides from Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Kensington Palace.

It is understood Meghan, who is in Canada, is likely to take part take part in the discussion via conference calling, if she is able to given there is a considerable time difference.

A royal source said the meeting was to “talk things through”. The proposals had been drawn up following “a series of meetings and consultations across the last few days.”

“There are a range of possibilities for the family to review, which take into account the thinking the Sussexes outlined earlier in the week”, the source added.

The couple made their bombshell announcement on Wednesday that they intend to “step back” from being frontline royals, split their time between the UK and North America, and work towards becoming “financially independent”.

Sources once more stressed that making changes to the working life and role in the monarchy of the couple “required complex and thoughtful discussions”.

“Next steps will be agreed at the meeting,” the source added. It remains the Queen’s wish that it be resolved “at pace”, and the aim remains days not weeks. But there was “genuine agreement and understanding that any decision will take time to be implemented,” the source added.

The meeting has been called as palace insiders denied reports the couple had been “driven out”. A narrative has developing of a rift within the royal family, including from ITV’s Tom Bradby, who is considered a friend of the Sussexes, of a “toxic” relationship between them and the rest of the family.