Prince Harry Says He and Meghan Markle Did Not 'Blindside' Queen About Royal Exit
During the couple's interview with Oprah Winfrey on Sunday, the TV host asked if they "blindsided" the monarch by releasing a statement in Jan. 2020 about stepping back to the public.
"No, I never blindsided my grandmother," Harry said. "I have too much respect for her."
The prince continued that he had three conversations about the subject with the Queen and two conversations with Prince Charles — "before he stopped taking my calls."
Prince Charles then asked Prince Harry to put their plan in writing. Harry did, including telling his family the date that they planned to announced the news.
Meghan and Prince Harry announced in Jan. 2020 they intended to "step back as senior members of the Royal Family" and split their time between the U.K. and North America.
"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," they said in a statement. "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."
Prince Harry, his father Prince Charles and his brother Prince William met with Queen Elizabeth at Sandringham, her country home, to discuss Harry and Meghan's announcement in what became known as the "Sandringham Summit."
After the 90-minute discussion, the Queen, 94, released a rare and emotional statement.
"Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family," she said.
"My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan's desire to create a new life as a young family," she continued. "Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working Members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family."
Less than a week after the couple announced that they are expecting their second child, Buckingham Palace confirmed that the couple will officially not be returning to their royal roles. The announcement came a few weeks shy of their 12-month review period.
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Although Prince Harry and Meghan no longer use their coveted His/Her Royal Highness titles, they will retain them — along with their Duke and Duchess of Sussex titles.
"While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family," the Buckingham Palace announcement said.